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Armchair - Sleepy Hollow

Sleepy Hollow

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Leicester (made)

  • Date:

    1920 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Dryad Ltd. (makers)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Palembang brown cane, bent wood

  • Museum number:

    W.13:1, 2-1990

  • Gallery location:

    20th Century, Room 74, case CA3, box 31 []

Dryad Ltd. was founded in Leicester in 1907 by Harry Peach. Their aim was to improve the level of design and manufacture of British cane furniture. This chair is a good, typical Dryad design of the type sold in large quantity - it is decisively modern, showing signs of German influence without being of a type that had little success in the British market. It was also purchased directly from Harry Peach by an Arts and Crafts metalworker named Reeve. The 'Sleepy Hollow' model was part of the range of contract furniture intended to remove Dryad from dependency upon the unpredictable domestic market and launch them into the more secure and profitable business of supplying cane furniture to airline and railway companies, restaurants, hotels and sports clubs.

Physical description

Armchair of woven cane.

Place of Origin

Leicester (made)


1920 (made)


Dryad Ltd. (makers)

Materials and Techniques

Palembang brown cane, bent wood


Height: 93 cm, Width: 64 cm, Depth: 50 cm

Object history note

Purchased by the V&A in 1990, from J.S. Reeve [90/224]. On entry to the Museum its condition was noted as 'sound'.

Historical context note

At the urging of Benjamin Fletcher, Head Master of Leicester School of Art, former bookseller Harry Peach established the Dryad firm as a manufacturer of cane furniture in 1907. The venture (which would also include metalwork and handicrafts) was infused with the ideals the Arts and Crafts movement (mainly through the writings of Fletcher's friend, W.R. Lethaby) and aimed to improve the level of design and manufacture of British cane furniture, with progressive German and Austrian designs as the paradigm. The German manufacturer of Richard Riemerschmid's designs, Reimann of Dresden, provided much inspiration. It was Fletcher, rather than Peach, who designed most of the early furniture.

Two versions of 'Sleepy Hollow' were sold, one made from natural cane (£5 10s 0d) and one made from Palembang (brown) cane (£3 15s 0d).
Key words: wicker, rattan

Descriptive line

Armchair, 'Sleepy Hollow'; cane and wood; Dryad, Leicester, 1920

Labels and date

[20th century gallery]

Designed and made by Dryad of Leicester, Great Britain, 1920
Palembang brown cane and wood
The firm of Dryad was established by Harry Peach in 1907 to produce cane furniture, metalwork and handicrafts. As the domestic market could be uncertain, Dryad expanded into the 'contract' furniture business, supplying airlines, hotels and restaurants. By using cheaper and stronger brown (Palembang) cane rather than pulp cane, Dryad was able to compete with Lusty's, the UK licencee of the American manufacturer, Lloyd Loom.


Cane; Wood


Weaving; Bending




Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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