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Arthur W. Simpson was a carver and designer of ecclesiastical and domestic furniture, and founder of the Kendal workshop that became known as 'The Handicrafts' (1888). In 1889 one of his pieces was selected for the London Arts and Crafts Society Exhibition. His style underwent a dramatic change: from traditional designs to a more formalized, abstract style of carving. The superb workmanship and clean lines of his furniture quickly found local buyers. To emphasize this new approach, Simpson used light English oak, which was oiled, polished and waxed to reveal its natural beauty.

The design of this chair is similar to the so-called Astronomer's chair by William Callaghan. One of these Astronomer's chairs is part of the collection of the V&A in London. The chair was crafted using the technique of steam-bending wood, which allowed the maker to create shapes that were otherwise impossible. William Callaghan was an optician who worked in London from about 1859. His firm, which continued until at least 1914, sold binoculars, telescopes and other specialist products. The Astronomer's chair was designed for the users of his telescopes.

Object information

Date and place:
England, attributed to Arthur Simpson (England, 1857 - 1922), ca. 1912
77 x 34,50 x 95,50 cm

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