Ebony Inlaid Cabinet by Gimson

Designed by Ernest Gimson and made in his Daneway workshop.

Additional images for this object

Art work details

Year of production :
Cabinets and Sideboards
Dimensions :
H. 118cm; W. 73cm; D. 35.5cm
Credit Line :
Bequeathed by Sydney Gimson in 1939

Macassar ebony and ebony inlaid with mother-of-pearl, with steel handles.

The legs, the frame of the shelf and the central back support of the stand are in ebony rather than macassar ebony with its contrasting grain.

The cabinet’s rectilinear outline is emphasised by the pattern of drawers and cupboards and the latticework stand. The initial inspiration came from Spanish and Portuguese 17th-century varguenos – cabinets of drawers and cupboards on a stand. Gimson would have seen such pieces at the South Kensington Museum (now the V&A) in London. The round and diamond-shaped inlays used around the inlaid doors and on the legs were inspired by Byzantine work. The two types of mother-of-pearl inlay glisten and draw the eye to the centre of the cabinet.

This cabinet was shown in Gimson’s exhibition at Debenham and Freebody’s department store, London in 1907. The exhibition was reviewed in Architectural Review in February 1908:

We can scarcely give higher praise than to say that Mr Gimson’s furniture comes successfully through the ordeal of a “one-man show.”

It was a notable feature of the last Arts and Crafts Exhibition that many of the furniture makers had so entirely shed the early eccentricities of the revival in furniture design, that some of their work was almost indistinguishable from copies of “period” furniture. Mr. Gimson has, however, maintained his individuality very markedly, and while avoiding vagaries, owes little to the historic English styles. … With inlay he is either very economical, using it just to enliven a piece in which the figure of the wood does not play a large part, or lavish in covering the whole surface of small boxes.

Shown in these images on display at Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House on Lake Windermere.