William Burges (born in London, 1827) designed this washstand in 1880. He designed it for his guest bedroom and the washstand reflects Burges's characteristic mix of scholarly sources and playful humour.
The washstand design is based on the poem 'Vita Nove' (New Life), by the Italian poet Dante (1265-1321). The motifs suggest a garden full of new life.
His design features a carved, painted and gilded wood, alongside a marble top and bowl inset with silver; and also a bronze tap with fillings.