Charles Robert Ashbee - Modern Masters London Tuesday, April 26, 2016 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    The Fine Art Society, London
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    The Fine Art Society, London, 19 April-21 May, 1999

  • Literature

    The Fine Art Society, exh. cat., London, 1999, illustrated no. 39

  • Catalogue Essay

    Architect and designer, Charles Robert Ashbee was a bold and individual spirit concerned with looking at art’s roots in society. Inspired by the teachings of John Ruskin and William Morris, Ashbee wished to improve people’s lives through the experience of making and move away from factory work which he deemed soul-destroying. Praising Ashbee’s commitment to English Arts and Crafts, in an article written for Dekorative Kunst in 1898, Hermann Muthesius refers to Ashbee’s drive to artistically reform society, bringing life back into the crafts and craftsmen. Questioned as to whether machine work would be less beautiful than handicraft, Ashbee responded "Maybe not, but ultimately it is the pleasure of the producer that sets the standard." Inspired by the Ruskinian notion of the medieval guild, Ashbee formed the Guild and School of Handicraft in the East End of London in 1888, which caused his progressivism to become a doctrine of the 1890s. The present lot was produced in a time when the Guild of Handicraft was celebrated for the most exquisite and critically acclaimed examples of Ashbee’s work.

Property of a Private European Collector



circa 1895
Mahogany, mahogany-veneered wood, stained beech marquetry, bronze.
185.3 x 199.3 x 50.3 cm (72 7/8 x 78 1/2 x 19 3/4 in.)
Produced by The Guild of Handicraft Ltd., London, UK. Reverse impressed with 1385 and top left drawer with manufacturer's label THE GUILD OF HANDICRAFT Ltd./ESSEX HOUSE/BOW.E.

£30,000 - 40,000 

Sold for £37,500

Contact Specialist
Madalena Horta e Costa
Head of Sale
+44 20 7318 4019

Modern Masters

London Auction 27 April 2016