George Washington Jack (1855 - 1932)
Made by Morris & Co
Mahogany with marquetry of sycamore and other woods
Museum no. CIRC. 40-1953
This cabinet (actually a writing desk) exemplifies the changes that were taking place within the Arts and Crafts movement: the 'honest' wood of the carcase has been covered with veneer; the old English oak-leaf motif has been added in marquetry.
The developed Arts and Crafts style was exhibited to great acclaim abroad and acquired by museums in Europe. Artists and designers in France, Belgium, Austria and Holland, and later, Germany, were inspired to develop the end-of-century style now called Art Nouveau. The developed form of this style was not welcomed or appreciated in Britain. Most of the major Arts and Crafts designers, such as C R Ashbee and W R Lethaby, spoke against Art Nouveau in quite vehement terms. Despite this, it is possible to see in their work the seeds that on the continent flowered into this style.