Sideboard

Black wood sideboard with skinny poles holding cabinets, brass trim
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • Black wood sideboard with skinny poles holding cabinets, brass trim

Date:

Designed 1867, made c. 1876

Artist:

Designed by Edward William Godwin
English, 1833-1886
Made by William Watt
English, 1834-1885
London, England

About this artwork

Celebrated as the “poet of architects and architect of all the arts,” Edward William Godwin was a man of many accomplishments. In a career that spanned more than thirty-five years, he was an architect of civic, domestic, and ecclesiastical buildings; an innovative interior decorator and designer of furniture, textiles, and theater sets; and an articulate critic of art and architecture. Godwin first designed his ebonized sideboard, of which this is a variant model, for his own dining room in 1867, and he subsequently reconsidered the form over the next two decades. In its appearance, the sideboard represents a turning away from the weight of contemporary Gothic Revival aesthetics and a move toward a reductionist sensibility expressed through the balance of solids and voids. This spare style gained Godwin some notable contemporary clients, among them James McNeill Whistler and Oscar Wilde. In his 1904 study The English House, the influential German critic Hermann Muthesius wrote that Godwin’s furniture, including this sideboard, foreshadowed the more modern look that emerged at the turn of the twentieth century. While calling Godwin’s creations “wildly picturesque,” Muthesius concluded that the overall effect was “one of elegance.”

On View

European Decorative Art, Gallery 246

Artist

Edward William Godwin

Title

Sideboard

Origin

England

Date

1871–1881

Medium

Ebonized mahogany with glass and silvered brass

Inscriptions

No mark

Dimensions

181.6 × 255.3 × 50.2 cm (71 1/2 × 100 1/2 × 19 3/4 in.) (with leaves e×tended)

Credit Line

Restricted gift of Robert Allerton, Harry and Maribel G. Blum, Mary and Leigh Block, Mary Waller Langhorne, Mrs. Siegfried G. Schmidt, Tillie C. Cohn, Richard T. Crane, Jr. Memorial, Eugene A. Davidson, Harriott A. Fox, Florence L. Notter, Kay and Frederick Krehbiel, European Decorative Arts Purchase, and Irving and June Seaman endowments; through prior acquisition of the Reid Martin Estate

Reference Number

2005.529

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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