One of the most ambitious works by a leading figure of the Arts and Crafts movement, this handsome cabinet is modelled on late nineteenth-century Spanish cabinets, known as varguenes.

They look heavy and severe when closed but when opened reveal an expanse of light and colour. In this cabinet, Ashbee has employed dark, close-grained ebony veneer for the austere exterior and lighter woods, floral decoration, silver-plated handles and crimson leather in the interior. This contains a honeycomb of drawers for keeping writing equipment and stamps. It is first recorded in the collection of the designer's mother, Mrs H. S. Ashbee of 37 Cheyne Walk, London, to whom it was presumably given as a gift.


Sotheby's, 1981.

The Wilson: Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum

Clarence Street, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL50 3JT
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