The First Art Newspaper on the Net Established in 1996 United States Wednesday, April 23, 2014


Rare Burges Furniture with Literary Connections Acquired for Bedford Museum
A unique Zodiac settle designed by a leading figure of the 19th century Gothic Revival movement, William Burges.
BEDFORD.- Cecil Higgins Art Gallery & Bedford Museum has purchased a unique piece of furniture created by one of the UK’s most celebrated 19th Century makers.

The rare item is a unique Zodiac settle designed by a leading figure of the 19th century Gothic Revival movement, William Burges. Designed for his own use, the Zodiac Settle (built around 1869) is an ornate canopied bench that combines the form of an Italian Renaissance day-bed with a castellated canopy.

Subject to a temporary export bar as part of the work of the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest (RCEWA), this unique and experimental piece of furniture has been acquired thanks to a £480,000 grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF), £190,000 from the Trustees of the Cecil Higgins Art Gallery and £180,000 from the Art Fund.

Previously owned by two prominent literary figures, Evelyn Waugh and John Betjeman, the settle will now form the centre piece of the Art Gallery & Museum’s new William Burges Gallery, due to open to the public late in 2012.

Dame Jenny Abramsky, Chair of the NHMF said: “This is exciting news. This stunning settle demonstrates why Burges was so highly regarded. The National Heritage Memorial Fund recognises its huge importance and I’m delighted it will now stay in Bedford for future generations to enjoy.”

Stephen Deuchar, Director of the Art Fund said: “We’re thrilled to see this unique and idiosyncratic settle go on show at the Cecil Higgins Art Gallery & Bedford Museum. It’s wonderful to think that this piece of furniture was once owned by two of Britain’s most celebrated literary figures, and now that it will be shown alongside other gems by Burges, people should be able to attain a rich, detailed picture of the maker’s creativity and innovation.”

Cllr Doug McMurdo, portfolio holder for Leisure & Culture, at Bedford Borough Council said: “The collection at Cecil Higgins Art Gallery and Bedford Museum will hugely benefit from this new addition, which will enhance enormously the future new William Burges Gallery. Bedford Borough Council is delighted that the three organisations have been able to secure the funding for this unique item.”

The settle is made from painted, stencilled and gilded wood, decorated with rock crystal and slips of vellum. The central panel, painted by Burges’ collaborator Henry Stacey Marks, features the sun on a throne surrounded by the dancing signs of the zodiac. The Settle’s other panels show the planets as musicians and female figures.

William Burges (1827 – 1881) was one of the most distinguished Victorian architects. His skills also extended beyond architecture, and he is particularly remembered for his painted furniture. The settle is an idiosyncratic example of Burges’ skill for reinterpreting medieval forms and decorations.

The settle is also significant to the revival of interest in Victorian art and design in the 20th century. The fact that two prominent British literary figures John Betjeman and Evelyn Waugh, both owned the piece, suggest that the item was covetable at the time. Betjeman was left the remaining lease on Tower House, including some of the furniture, by ERB Graham in 1961, reflecting Betjeman’s fame as a public defender of 19th century architecture. Betjeman gave three pieces of furniture to Evelyn Waugh: the Zodiac Settle, the Philosophy Cabinet (private collection) and the Narcissus Washstand (Cecil Higgins Art Gallery & Bedford Museum). Waugh writes in a letter to his daughter Maragret FitzHerbert in July 1965, of the Settle “looking very well between the windows of the morning-room”. Subsequently the Settle has passed through the Waugh family by descent.

Cecil Higgins Art Gallery & Bedford Museum is the perfect home for this unique Settle. It currently houses the finest collection of painted furniture designed by Burges. These include the Sleeping Beauty Bed, the Narcissus Washstand and a dressing table, all from Burges’ own bedroom. In addition, the collection includes a pair of cabinet doors, a wardrobe, a zodiac-themed bookcase, a tulip vase, a decorative silver decanter, a set of knives and forks, an enamelled silver bracelet and a set of 30 zodiac-themed tiles.

Burges always intended the settle for his own home. Firstly, his rooms on Buckingham Street off the Strand in London and later Tower House, the gothic residence Burges built for himself in Holland Park. Unlike other pieces of his painted furniture, the Settle was an experiment in form and the design was never repeated in any of his later furniture commissions.



Today's News

February 16, 2011

ARCOmadrid Opens 30th Edition with Works of Art Between the Ordinary and Extraordinary

Tate Offers a Fresh Assessment of the History of Watercolour Painting in Britain

Sotheby's February 2011 Contemporary Art Evening Auction Realises $71,051,252

Exhibition in Valencia Marks the Centenary of the Birth of Artist Roberto Matta

20th Century Decorative Art & Design Works Dazzle Christie's New York Auction

Sao Paulo Biennial Foundation Appoints Curator for its Forthcoming Edition

President Barack Obama Lauds Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipients

Shane Guffogg's At the Still Point Series on View at Leslie Sacks Fine Art in Los Angeles

The American International Fine Art Fair Closes with Record Attendance and Strong Sales

Union Square Hospitality Group Announces Forthcoming Cafe at The Whitney: Untitled

Private Collectors Make Fantastic Donations of Photographic Art to Moderna Museet

Looking at Music 3.0 Explores the Influence of Music on Contempory Art in NY and the Birth of "Remix Culture"

Amon Carter Museum's Director of Education Named National Educator of the Year

Outstanding Selection of Modern Drawings at Swan Galleries' Work on Paper Auction

Property From The Life and Career of Musician Slash to Be Sold By Julien's Auctions

Rare Burges Furniture with Literary Connections Acquired for Bedford Museum

Frick Collection Exhibition Considers Rembrandt Through the Eyes of Two Collectors

Bas-Relief of a Sacred Character Discovered by Mexican Archaeologists at El Tajin

First Major Retrospective of the Artist Arman Presented by Museum Tinguely

Celebrity Cars on the Red Carpet at Fort Lauderdale Auction

Burial Site at Combe Capelle in France is Not as Old as Previously Assumed, by Several Thousands Years

Denver Art Museum's Petrie Institute of Western American Art Reaches Endowment Goal

Smithsonian American Art Museum Invites Public to Vote on Games to be Featured in "The Art of Video Games" Exhibition

Queensland Treasures Back on Show as Cultural Centre Reopens

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- 'World's oldest message in a bottle', tossed in sea 101 years ago, reaches granddaughter

2.- East-West/West-East: Qatar unveils desert sculpture by American artist Richard Serra

3.- Ming-era 'chicken cup' sells for $36.05 million breaking record for Chinese porcelain

4.- United States pastor Kevin Sutherland convicted over Damien Hirst fake paintings

5.- Major exhibition at Pinacothèque de Paris explores the myth of Cleopatra

6.- Fondation Vincent van Gogh Arles opens with inaugural exhibition "Van Gogh Live!"

7.- Landmark exhibition opens in New York exploring the ancient kingdoms of Southeast Asia

8.- Palm-sized scroll that mentions Jesus's wife is ancient: Harvard Theological Review

9.- Hitler's wife Eva Braun may have had Jewish ancestry: British television documentary

10.- Bonhams to sell Madame de Pompadour's favourite porcelain which surfaced in Devon after 350 years



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Rmz. - Marketing: Carla Gutiérrez
Special Contributor: Liz Gangemi - Special Advisor: Carlos Amador
Contributing Editor: Carolina Farias

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org theavemaria.org juncodelavega.org facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site