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Furniture design

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1855 - 1881 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Burges, William A.R.A., born 1827 - died 1881 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pen, pencil, watercolour on paper and tracing paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level H, case 93, shelf E, box 8

William Burges began designing furniture early in his career, in the mid-1850s, and continued until his death in 1881. Generally heavy, sculptural, extensively carved, and with medieval decorations, his furniture stood out in the 19th century particularly for its unique application of painted decoration. Following a medieval fashion of design, Burges applied painted decoration to his furniture to correspond to greater painted schemes on surrounding walls and ceilings. He displayed a number of such painted pieces at the International Exhibition of 1862 in the Medieval Court. Despite receiving mixed reviews for his use of colours, decorative subjects, and carpentry at this early date, Burges’ furniture proved very popular in succeeding decades. He continued to design in this bold fusion of Pre-Raphaelitism and the Gothic Revival the duration of his career.

Physical description

Pencil drawing on tracing paper of designs for an end table, writing desk (or possibly a piano), and a cabinet. Each are drawing in front and side views in inch scales with full size scales of carved detail to the right. Small watercolour and pencil drawings on paper are attached to the tracing paper as well.

Place of Origin

England (made)


ca. 1855 - 1881 (made)


Burges, William A.R.A., born 1827 - died 1881 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Pen, pencil, watercolour on paper and tracing paper


Width: 64.5 cm, Length: 49.2 cm

Descriptive line

William Burges. Design for a cabinet, end table, and a writing desk (possibly a piano). English, ca. 1855 - 1881.


Pen; Pencil; Watercolour; Paper; Tracing Paper



Subjects depicted

End tables; Cabinet; Writing desks


Designs; Furniture; Drawings


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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