Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Reclining chair - Long Chair
  • Long Chair
    Breuer, Marcel Lajos, born 1902 - died 1981
  • Enlarge image

Long Chair

  • Object:

    Reclining chair

  • Place of origin:

    London (designed)
    Estonia (made)

  • Date:

    1936 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Breuer, Marcel Lajos, born 1902 - died 1981 (designer)
    Isokon Furniture Company (manufacturers)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Laminated birch frame, with bent plywood seat/back

  • Museum number:

    CIRC.83:1 to 3-1975

  • Gallery location:

    20th Century, Room 74, case CA10 []

Marcel Breuer (1902-1981) has been described as one of the most influential designers of the 20th century. He was an architect and furniture designer, working in both Europe and America. During a brief period in England, Breuer worked on private commissions and as a designer for the furniture manufacturer, Isokon.

The most important achievement of Breuer's two year union with Isokon was the Long Chair. In 1936 it cost over £6 and relatively few were made. Initially the seats were sent from Estonia and attached to London-made frames. Isokon would upholster the chair in fabric of the client's choice, but the loose cover on this example is a later replacement.

Although the chair's design derives from a Breuer aluminium chair of 1932-33, the use of plywood is influenced by the moulded furniture of Finnish architect Alvar Aalto. The British taste for Modernism favoured the soft curves and warm appearance of wood rather than the harsher aesthetic of metal furniture.

Physical description

Long, reclining chair with laminated birch frame, including arms, plywood continuous seat/back and long cushion with cover, that covers the length of both seat and back.

Place of Origin

London (designed)
Estonia (made)

Date

1936 (made)

Artist/maker

Breuer, Marcel Lajos, born 1902 - died 1981 (designer)
Isokon Furniture Company (manufacturers)

Materials and Techniques

Laminated birch frame, with bent plywood seat/back

Marks and inscriptions

MADE IN ESTONIA
Stamped in centre of plywood seat at foot end.

Dimensions

Height: 72 cm, Width: 61.9 cm, Length: 137 cm

Object history note

Breuer's earliest version of the Long Chair utilized a mortise and tenon joint at the connection between the frame and the seat that became loose over a period of time from use. The second incarnation, as in this example, uses a n improved joint to connect the frame and seat providing greater stability.

Historical context note

The most important achievement of Breuer's two year union with Isokon was the Long Chair. In 1936 it cost over £6 and relatively few were made. Initially the seats were sent from Estonia and attached to London-made frames. Isokon would upholster the chair in fabric of the client's choice but this loose cover is thought to be later.

Although the chair's design derives from a Breuer aluminium chair of 1932-33, the use of plywood is influenced by the moulded furniture of Finnish architect Alvar Aalto. The British taste for Modernism favoured the soft curves and warm appearance of wood rather than the harsher aesthetic of metal furniture.

[Gareth Williams, 'British Design at Home', p.117]

Descriptive line

Reclining 'Long' chair, des. Breuer, man. Isokon Furniture, 1936, London

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

British Design since 1880, Fiona MacCarthy, Lund Humphries, 1982.

Labels and date

'LONG CHAIR'
Designed by Marcel Breuer (Hungarian, 1902-1981)
Manufactured by Isokon Furniture Company, London
Molded birch plywood with 'Zebrano' veneer, replacement upholstered cushion
1935-1936

Isokon was a company devoted to the production of modern furniture founded by the visionary modernist Jack Pritchard. Bauhaus emigres Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer were its Comptroller and designer respectively.

Circ.83-1975 [1989-2006]

Materials

Birch; Plywood

Techniques

Laminated

Categories

ELISE; Furniture

Collection

Furniture and Woodwork Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.