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Sideboard - The Wines and Beers Sideboard
  • The Wines and Beers Sideboard
    Burges, William A.R.A., born 1827 - died 1881
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The Wines and Beers Sideboard

  • Object:

    Sideboard

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1859 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Burges, William A.R.A., born 1827 - died 1881 (designer)
    Poynter, Edward John (Sir), born 1836 - died 1919 (painter)
    Harland and Fisher (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Wood, painted and gilded, with velvet-lined replacement backboard.

  • Museum number:

    8042:1 to 3-1862

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The designer William Burges showed this cabinet at the International Exhibition of 1862 (South Kensington, London). This Museum purchased it at the 1862 exhibition for £40. The painted decoration is suitably light-hearted, given that the cabinet was designed for storing and serving drinks. It shows an imaginary battle between wines and beers, in which Continental wines, represented by Sir Bacchus, fight with British beers, represented by Sir John Barleycorn. Also represented are female warriors personifying Pale Ale, Scotch Ale, Hock and Champagne.

Physical description

Rectangular sideboard on a stand, with a marble top, the flat surfaces painted with figures and gothic ornament. Above the sideboard is a replacement backboard lined with velvet and supporting a shelf.

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

1859 (made)

Artist/maker

Burges, William A.R.A., born 1827 - died 1881 (designer)
Poynter, Edward John (Sir), born 1836 - died 1919 (painter)
Harland and Fisher (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Wood, painted and gilded, with velvet-lined replacement backboard.

Dimensions

Height: 167.7 cm with backboard, Width: 139.7 cm, Depth: 43.2 cm, Height: 104.5 cm without backboard

Object history note

William Burges exhibited this cabinet in the Ninth Architectural Exhibition, held at 9, Conduit Street, Regent Street, London, in 1859. It was exhibited again in the Medieval Court at the London International Exhibition of 1862 where it was purchased by the South Kensington Museum for £40. Photographs of the Medieval Court in 1862 show the sideboard with a high backboard decorated with a pattern of studs. This may be the '"reredos", some five feet high, covered with velvet', described by Mrs Loftie, The Dining Room, page 49, in 1878.

The diaper pattern used above and below the central panel is similar to one on a Japanese cabinet in Burges's collection and the same pattern was used on another cabinet shown in the 1862 International Exhibition (J.B. Waring, Masterpieces of Industrial Art & Sculpture at the International Exhibition, 1862, pl. 288.)

The male portrait to the right of the central panel is J.M. Whistler and that to the left of the central panel may be D.G. Rossetti. The two female portraits have not yet been identified.

In 1900 the sideboard was on display in the Upper Gallery of the Bethnal Green Museum, with other pieces of furniture to encourage and educate local furniture-making trades.

In 1964 the sideboard was lent to the William Morris Gallery, Walthamstow, on long loan. This was originally requested in exchange for one of the painted chairs designed by Burges which was borrowed for display in the new Nineteenth Century Primary Gallery in the V&A. In 1980 the termination of the long loan of the sideboard was requested since it was needed for display in the Primary Gallery and the Burges chair was returned to the William Morris Gallery .

Historical context note

Among other Burges cabinets known to have been painted by Poynter are the Cadmus bookcase (Ashmolean Museum Oxford), the Yatman cabinet (also in the V&A), and the Fry cabinet (private collection).

Two other known cabinets have Bacchus-related designs: the mirrored buffet with the 'Martyr de St Bacchus' shown at the 1859 Architectural Exhibition and the 1862 London International Exhibition, painted by Nathaniel Westlake and now at the Art Institute of Chicago, and a 'St Bacchus' sideboard similar to the V&A example, but painted by Thomas Morten and now at the Detroit Institue of Arts.

Descriptive line

Sideboard, 'The Wines and Beers sideboard', by William Burges

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

Jonathan Meyer, 'The Nineteenth Century. Empire and Eclecticism', in 'The Layman's Book of British Furniture 1600-2000'. London, The Intelligent Layman Publisher Ltd, 2005, pp. 104-185, ill. p. 162

Labels and date

SIDEBOARD AND WINE CABINET
ENGLISH; 1859
Wood with painted and gilt decoration
Designed by William Burges. Painted by N.H.J. Westlake.
Made by S Fisher of Harland & Fisher.
This cabinet was shown at the 1859 Architectural Exhibition and again at the London 1862 International Exhibition. [pre July 2001]
This cabinet was shown at the 1859 Architectural Exhibition and then in the International Exhibition of 1862. It was purchased at the latter by this Museum fo £40. The painted decoration depicts 'The Battle of the Wines and Beers' in which Continental wines, represented by Sir Bacchus, fight with British beers, represented by Sir John Barleycorn. Also represented are female warriors personifying Pale Ale, Scotch Ale, Hock and Champagne. Inside are four Neo-Classical cameos representing Ginger beer, Lemonade, Seltzer Water and Soda Water. []

Production Note

Reason For Production: Exhibition

Materials

Wood

Techniques

Painting; Gilding

Categories

Furniture; Drinking

Production Type

Unique

Collection

Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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