Skip to Content
Closed today, next open tomorrow. Closed today, next open tomorrow.

Drawing Room Cabinet

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

Image actions

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




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


Applied Arts of Europe


Bruce James Talbert (Designer)


Drawing Room Cabinet


Lancaster (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



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


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

Credit Line

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

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

Learn more.

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 . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions