22 Apr 2021

Charles Bevan (d. 1882) was an English Gothic Revival designer, acclaimed for his ornate antique marquetry furniture . Little is known about his private life. However, he worked with a number of furniture manufacturers and designers, including Gillows and J. P. Seddon, and his work was widely chronicled in catalogues and periodicals.

Gothic antique desk

Bevan was born in the late 1820s. He is thought to have been trained by the Gothic Revivalist J. P. Seddon, an architect and furniture designer. Seddon was certainly an inspiration for Bevan’s first known piece, a Davenport in Reformed Gothic Geometric Style. This antique desk was published in Building News, in 1865.

He then began designing chairs for Marsh & Jones of Leeds, who had a London showroom near his workshop. Later, they worked together on commissions for Yorkshire industrialist Sir Titus Salt. This included an elaborate bedroom suite and a marquetry grand piano, which Bevan described as mediaeval. The patterns of these items define him as a master craftsman of antique marquetry furniture in the Geometric style.

An antique bookcase designed by Bevan in 1867, for the Manchester company James Lamb, was exhibited at the Paris Exposition. A year later he began designing for Gillows. The ebonized, metal-embellished antique cabinets he showed at the1872 International Exhibition can now be seen at the V&A.

Designer and maker of antique marquetry furniture

Together with William Burges and Bruce J. Talbert, Bevan was described as a Modern Gothic Furniture designer. However, he was also a woodcarver and cabinetmaker of some distinction. In 1872 he set up a partnership with his son, manufacturing marquetry antique bookcases and Victorian dining chairs until his death.

People in Cumbria can see his antique cabinets and Gothic Revival Victorian dining chairs on display at museums like the V & A in London, as well as in stately homes. Bevan’s antique marquetry furniture does come up at private sales from time to time – but expect to pay around £12,000 – £18,000 for a satinwood antique cabinet.

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