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Table - Boomerang table

Boomerang table

  • Object:

    Table

  • Place of origin:

    London, England (designed)
    (made)

  • Date:

    1950-1952 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    A.M. Lewis (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oak

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mr and Mrs A. E. Evans

  • Museum number:

    W.1-1998

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

  • Image in copyright

The boomerang shape was popular across design disciplines, from furniture to graphics, during the 1950s. Possibly it was inspired by the aerodynamics of new jet aircraft, or the amoebic shapes of contemporary art. In Britain, Liberty opened a modern furniture department in 1950 and retailed this table designed by A.M. Lewis. It also appeared in an award-winning window display during the Festival of Britain in 1951. Variations of this type of table even appeared in the decoration of the famous Homemaker range of ceramics, designed by Enid Seeney and made by Ridgway Potteries in Staffordshire later in the 1950s. This particular table was given to Mr and Mrs Evans as a wedding present in 1952. They used it with their DA armchair, designed by Ernest Race (see W.76-1983).

Physical description

Occasional table of oak. The top of irregular boomerang shape supported on three tapering circular section legs.

Place of Origin

London, England (designed)
(made)

Date

1950-1952 (made)

Artist/maker

A.M. Lewis (designer)

Materials and Techniques

Oak

Marks and inscriptions

CC41
4646 Utilty mark
F201

Dimensions

Height: 12 in, Width: 25.5 in, Depth: 16.5 in

Object history note

Historical significance: Retailed by Liberty, a major fashionable store who opened their modern furniture department in 1950, and designed exclusively for the store by A.M. Lewis, the table was the focus of an award-winning window display by Roy Gentry for the Festival of Britain in 1951. It also appeared in another display designed that year by Eric E. Lucking . It was very unusual for Liberty to name individual designers, apart from very prominent British or European/North American names, such as Arne Jacobsen.
The Utility mark places the table's manufacture within the Freedom of Design period at the end of the Utility scheme (1948-51). This would make an interesting addition to the other Utility pieces within the collection.
It is however, a complete departure from the simple aesthetic, derived in part from the British Arts and Crafts tradition, which informed Gordon Russell's original designs for the Utility scheme.
Press:
Boomerang tables were illustrated as satellites to the cloud-shaped ‘Nimbus' table, designed by Lewis and K McAvoy, also for Liberty, in an article on ‘Quartics' in contemporary design by the mathematician J A D Wedd (Design, No.59, 1953, ). A four-legged boomerang table is featured on Enid Seeney's ‘Homemaker' tableware for Ridgway Potteries (1955) alongside a chair by Robin Day and a sideboard by Gordon Russell Ltd .
The incidence of the boomerang table on the ‘Homemaker' tableware demonstrates how far this piece encapsulated the look and feel of contemporary British design in the early 1950s.

Historical context note

The donors, Mr and Mrs Evans were married in March 1952 and received the boomerang table as a wedding gift. Mrs Evans is certain that the table was purchased at Liberty although, since the table was a gift, there is no supporting documentation. Mr and Mrs Evans live in Cheshire; the presence of this object in their home demonstrates the spread of taste for contemporary design outside the metropolis. Mrs Evans was a dressdesigner, principally of children's clothes, and ran her own business in partnership with her husband. They also owned an Ernest Race DA1 chair and wrapped the boomerang table around its leg.

Descriptive line

table, model 'Boomerang'

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

Wedd, J.A.D.: 'Quartics', 'Design', No. 59, 1953

Exhibition History

Festival of Britain Window Display, designed by Roy Gentry (Liberty's 01/01/1951-31/12/1951)

Labels and date

Twentieth Century Study Gallery label, February 2002:
'BOOMERANG' TABLE
Designed by A. M. Lewis (British,)
Made for Liberty and Co, London, 1950-2
Oak
This coffee table was inspired by the organic forms of Scandinavian and American design. Its simplicity and practicality are also typical of British furniture of the period. The table was designed to fit neatly around chair legs. Space efficiency and fitness for purpose were key factors in the design of post-war modern furniture.
Given Mr and Mrs A. E. Evans
W.1-1998

Production Note

Attribution note: Designed exclusively for Liberty's by A.M. Lewis

Materials

Oak

Categories

Furniture

Production Type

Mass produced

Collection code

FWK

Qr_O8364
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