Cheltenham acquires Arts and Crafts cabinet with grant from The Art Fund

  • 6 June 2008

Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum has acquired a stunning cabinet designed by Ernest Gimson - made in about 1902 in his Daneway workshop, near Sapperton, Gloucestershire.

The cabinet was purchased from a private collection, from the family who had bought it from Gimson at the beginning of the twentieth century.

David Barrie, Director of The Art Fund, said: "Ernest Gimson was a central figure in the Arts and Crafts Movement, though best known for his more rustic designs. The rare opportunity to acquire such an elegant and sophisticated Gimson cabinet was one which Cheltenham could not afford to miss, as there is nothing like it in any other UK public collection. I'm delighted that The Art Fund was able to make its purchase possible."

Ernest Gimson (1864-1919) was born in Leicester where he began his architectural training. He moved to London to the office of the influential Arts and Crafts architect John D Sedding in 1886. Inspired by William Morris he took up chair making and decorative plasterwork and began designing embroideries and furniture. In 1893 he moved to the Cotswolds with the brothers Ernest and Sidney Barnsley. They shared a workshop until 1900 when Gimson and Ernest Barnsley set up a second workshop and began employing cabinet makers to execute their designs. This workshop was run from Daneway House near Sapperton and provided valuable craft training for young local men as well as producing stunning and well-made pieces of furniture and metalwork. Gimson took sole control of the workshop from the end of 1902 until his death in 1919.

Gimson’s work as a furniture designer was well-known and admired by his contemporaries in Britain, continental Europe and the USA. But more importantly perhaps his work continues to have a resonance and relevance for both craft makers and product designers that transcends the historical movement.

The cabinet is now on display in the Arts and Crafts Movement gallery at Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum.

Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum

For further information and images, please contact Helen Brown, Collections Manager, or Anna Stanway, Marketing & Information Officer, Tel: 01242-237431