Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Armchair - Rossetti chair
  • Rossetti chair
    Rossetti, Dante Gabriel, born 1828 - died 1882
  • Enlarge image

Rossetti chair

  • Object:

    Armchair

  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1870-1890 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Rossetti, Dante Gabriel, born 1828 - died 1882 (designer)
    Morris & Co. (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Ebonised beech, with red painted decoration and rush seat

  • Museum number:

    CIRC.304-1961

  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 125, Edwin and Susan Davies Gallery, case 2

Object Type
A chair of this type were traditionally called a 'Rossetti' chair, after the poet and artist, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, friend of William Morris. Similar French country chairs can be seen in the home of the artist, Claude Monet (1840-1926), at Giverny, in Normandy, France.

People
Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882) was an enthusiastic collector of antiques and owned a very similar chair to this example, shown with him in a photograph of 1863. He may have suggested the idea of using his chair as a model for the firm to copy so that they could add a new design to their range of furniture. Some of Rossetti's Regency furniture can still be seen at Kelmscott Manor, Oxfordshire, the house that he and William Morris used for holidays.

Trading
The firm of Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. showed their first products at the London International Exhibition of 1862. They were originally established in Red Lion Square, London and subsequently moved to Queen Square and opened a shop in Oxford Street in 1877.By then, the firm was called Morris & Co. and published an illustrated catalogue of their products in about 1912. It included illustrations of all the furniture available, including this chair which cost 16/6 (82p).

Physical description

Armchair of painted and stained beech with a circular rush seat.

Place of Origin

London (made)

Date

1870-1890 (made)

Artist/maker

Rossetti, Dante Gabriel, born 1828 - died 1882 (designer)
Morris & Co. (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Ebonised beech, with red painted decoration and rush seat

Dimensions

Height: 88.8 cm, Width: 49.5 cm, Depth: 53 cm

Object history note

Possibly designed by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (born in London, 1828, died in Birchington on Sea, Kent, 1882); manufactured by Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co., and Morris & Co., London

Historical context note

Rush-seated chairs were a staple production of Morris & Co. from the firm's early years. Morris's colleague, the artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti, owned an early nineteenth century chair of this form, probably from rural France, which provided the model for Morris & Co. Similar chairs are depicted in 'Londoners Gipsying', a painting of 1820 by C.R. Leslie. While most early Morris & Co. furniture is inspired by the middle-ages, this chair has origins in the light-weight furniture of the Regency period.

That the chair is essentially a reproduction is not unusual for furniture of this period. For Morris & Co. it represented an ideal form which could not be improved - an early design classic. Although a traditional country chair, it was sold to the urban middle classes aspiring towards a contrived simplicity of life.

[Gareth Williams, 'British Design at Home', p.72]

Descriptive line

'Rossetti' Armchair, Morris & Co., London, 1870-90

Labels and date

ARMCHAIR
ENGLISH: 1870-1890
Designer unknown
Made by Morris & Co., London
Stained beech with a rush seat
Sold by Morris & Co. from about 1870 as the 'Rossetti Chair'. It is an exact copy of an early nineteenth century French provincial chair owned by D.G. Rossetti. [1993]
British Galleries:
This design, known as the 'Rossetti' chair, was based on early 19th-century French country chairs. The artist and designer Dante Gabriel Rossetti was a partner in the early firm. He may have designed this example. The chair was popular with the public and continued to be made well into the 20th century. [27/03/2003]

Production Note

In production from about 1863

Materials

Beech; Rush

Techniques

Stained; Painted

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.