20th Century Design

 

The 8th October brings Sworders 20th Century Design sale and includes a rather tasty selection
of designer chairs, from Mackintosh to Eames

 
The John Polak Collection of Chairs in his flat in Phillidelphia

The John Polak Collection of Chairs in his flat in Phillidelphia

A chair designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh for perhaps his best-known patron, the Dutch Kitchen at Miss Cranston’s Argyle Street tearooms in Glasgow, is estimated to sell between £5,000-7,000.

Mackintosh carried out two phases of work at the 'Crown Lunch and Tea Rooms' in Argyle Street - first in 1898 and again in 1905/1906 when he returned to remodel and decorate the basement. Two photographs published in the Studio in October 1906 show a low beamed ceiling, a huge lintelled fireplace lined with blue and white Delft tiles and tables surrounded by simple and robust ‘Windsor’ style chairs. To contrast with a predominantly black and white palette, they were painted in emerald green.

The Argyle Tea Rooms closed in 1918, and much of the dining furniture was dispersed. This particular chair is carved to the top rail ‘Secretary's “Ours” Chair,’ - a clue to its later history in a Glasgow literary society. The club, instituted by gentlemen schoolmasters in 1871, was properly titled The Philological Society of Glasgow. However, seemingly even in the first session, this was deemed a little pretentious, and it quickly simply became known by its members as ‘Ours’. By tradition the chair was donated by the club’s first secretary, Charles Clarke of Johnstone.

Modern Design

Chairs designed by Charles and Ray Eames and Jens Risom, previously on loan to the London Design Museum, also form part of Sworders’ 20th Century Design sale. The vendor’s father Johan Polak (1924-1995) worked for the United Nations as a publicity design officer. The three chairs were all bought in Philadelphia in 1949 whilst he was employed by N W Ayer & Son Inc., one of America’s oldest advertising agencies. He later loaned his furniture - each piece an early version of a design classic - to the London Design Museum. A chair and a table have been kept in the museum’s collection.

The sale includes a pair of DCW (Dining Chair Wood) chairs designed by husband and wife team Charles and Ray Eames at their Venice, California studio in 1946. The DCWs were among the first to employ the process of laminating and shaping plywood into compound curves that had first used during the war to create leg splints. These examples - made by the office furniture maker Herman Miller for whom the Eames’ studio produced many designs - are labelled 'Charles Eames design Herman Miller, Zeeland Michigan’. The estimate is £400-600.

Danish industrial designer Jens Risom produced Hans Knoll’s first furniture designs in 1943. Due to wartime restrictions, his 652 lounge armchair used simple wood frames with seats originally made using discarded parachute webbing. Two examples from the immediate post-war period are included in the sale, one with a webbed rush seat, the other with the original brown fabric and stuffed upholstery. Both labelled 'Knoll Associates Inc 601 Madison Avenue, New York 22 NY’; they are estimated at £400-600 each.

www.sworder.co.uk

Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928), a green painted Windsor chair, designed for Miss Cranston's Dutch Kitchen, Argyle Tearooms, Glasgow, 1906, with a later inscribed top rail 'Secretary's OURS Chair'.    Estimate: £5,000-7,000

Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928), a green painted Windsor chair, designed for Miss Cranston's Dutch Kitchen, Argyle Tearooms, Glasgow, 1906, with a later inscribed top rail 'Secretary's OURS Chair'. Estimate: £5,000-7,000

The John Polak Collection of Chairs in his flat in Phillidelphia

The John Polak Collection of Chairs in his flat in Phillidelphia

A 652 U1/2 armchair, designed by Jens Risom for Knoll, with the original fabric, worn, labelled 'Knoll Associates Inc 601 Madison Avenue, New York 22 NY' This item has been on loan at the London Design Museum since 1993. These have been in various exhibitions including 'History of Modern Design: In the Home' 2004, 'Designing Modern Life' 2005, and 'This Is Design' 2012.    Estimate: £400-600

A 652 U1/2 armchair, designed by Jens Risom for Knoll, with the original fabric, worn, labelled 'Knoll Associates Inc 601 Madison Avenue, New York 22 NY' This item has been on loan at the London Design Museum since 1993.
These have been in various exhibitions including 'History of Modern Design: In the Home' 2004, 'Designing Modern Life' 2005, and 'This Is Design' 2012.
Estimate: £400-600

A 652 armchair, designed by Jens Risom for Knoll Associates in 1943, with an unstained webbed seat and birch frame, labelled 'Knoll Associates Inc., 601 Madison Avenue, New York 22 NY'. This item has been on loan at the London Design Museum since 1993.    Estimate: £400-600

A 652 armchair, designed by Jens Risom for Knoll Associates in 1943, with an unstained webbed seat and birch frame, labelled 'Knoll Associates Inc., 601 Madison Avenue, New York 22 NY'. This item has been on loan at the London Design Museum since 1993. Estimate: £400-600

A DCW chair, designed by Charles and Ray Eames for Herman Miller in 1946, labelled 'Charles Eames design Herman Miller Zeeland Michigan', and another. These chairs have been on loan at the London Design Museum since 1993. The vendor, Johan Polak, lived in Philadelphia and worked for the United Nations as a graphic artist.    Estimate: £400-600

A DCW chair, designed by Charles and Ray Eames for Herman Miller in 1946, labelled 'Charles Eames design Herman Miller Zeeland Michigan', and another. These chairs have been on loan at the London Design Museum since 1993. The vendor, Johan Polak, lived in Philadelphia and worked for the United Nations as a graphic artist. Estimate: £400-600

Woo Gilchrist