In February a rare example from a set of Victorian dining chairs went under the hammer for £1700 – despite being in poor condition and lacking a seat. The reason being that the chair was designed by the son of A.W Pugin, who built and furnished the Palace of Westminster – better known as the Houses of Parliament.
Pugin’s High Victorian Gothic style extended to Victorian oak pedestal desks – one of which was installed in the Palace Prime Minister’s Office. If you are wondering what a Parliamentary Antique oak partners desk and Lancashire have in common, the answer is Gillow’s of Lancaster. The desk, designed by Pugin and Barry, was actually manufactured at Gillows Lancashire workshops, circa 1844. As was usual with Gillow’s all the original drawings were kept, and a number of copies of the desk made, one of which can be seen on the Victorian Web site. The Prime Minister’s office is also illustrated in Paul Atterbury and Clive Wainwright’s book, Pugin: a Gothic Passion (published 1994).
Pugin’s antique oak pedestal desk design would not, of course, have existed in the Mediaeval period. The ironwork handles and lock plates were probably made by Hardman & Co, with whom Pugin was closely associated. Pugin and Gillow collaborated on a number of Gothic designs outside those produced for the Palace of Westminster, including Victorian dining chairs, oak bedsteads and antique chests.
If you want your Lancashire office to have a Gothic Revival makeover, antique dealers in Cumbria and Preston often have Victorian oak partners desks and boardroom-style antique dining tables in the manner of Gillows and Pugin.
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