Drawing Room Cabinet

A work made of walnut, ebony, boxwood, thuya, maple, and other woods, gilding, and lacquered brass mounts.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of walnut, ebony, boxwood, thuya, maple, and other woods, gilding, and lacquered brass mounts.

Date:

1871/72

Artist:

Designed by Bruce James Talbert
Scottish, active in England, 1838–1881
Made by Gillow & Company
England, 1730–1974

About this artwork

This drawing-room cabinet was conceived by Bruce James Talbert, a prolific designer in Victorian Britain who drew inspiration from such widely divergent sources as Gothic architecture and Japanese art. Like many of his colleagues in the second half of the 19th century, Talbert often wrestled with how to foster fine design and craftsmanship in the face of increasing industrialization and mechanization. He simplified and popularized the Gothic style first advocated by Augustus Pugin earlier in the century, and offered his designs to furniture manufacturers such as Gillow and Company of Lancaster, who made the Art Institute’s cabinet.

Talbert advocated honesty in construction and designed many pieces that combine a strongly rectilinear form with a refined sense of detail. Here, the carved Gothic elements of the perimeter of the sideboard provide the structure for delicate marquetry panels depicting abstract, geometrical designs and Japanese-inspired vases of flowers.

The cabinet was made for railroad magnate Sir James A. Ramsden, who commissioned it for his Gothic Revival mansion, Abbots Wood, in the northern English county of Cumbria. The central, arched crest displays the owner’s monogram JAR and inlaid ebony letters below spell out ABBOTSWOOD within squares of maple.

Currently Off View

European Decorative Art

Artist

Bruce James Talbert

Title

Drawing Room Cabinet

Origin

Lancaster

Date

1871–1872

Medium

Walnut, ebony, boxwood, thuya, maple, and other woods, gilding, and lacquered brass mounts

Inscriptions

The center of the backboard with the carved initials "JAR" for the cabinet's original owner, James A. Ramsden, and marquetry inlay "AB/BO/TTS/W/OO/D" For Abbots Wood, the house for which it was made

Dimensions

148.6 x 166.4 x 52.1 cm (58 1/2 x 65 1/2 x 20 1/2 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of the Antiquarian Society through the Mrs. Edgar J. Uihlein Fund

Reference Number

1992.632

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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