Item NMC/0257 - Armchair

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  • c1900 (Creation)

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This item was lost in the fire in The Mackintosh Building at The Glasgow School of Art on 23rd May 2014. Painted white wood with inlaid metals and wood.

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William Birch was a furniture maker, based in High Wycombe. In the 1840s, according to family tradition Birch began chairmaking. In 1853 he made his first appeared in trade directories. In 1883 William son's Walter started his own chairmaking business in Castle Street, after beginning some years before at the back of The Woolpack pub in Oxford Road. By 1888 another son, Charles, had started a furniture factory in Queen’s Road and carried on in business until World War One. In 1895 Walter took over his father’s firm as Birch and Company with premises in Denmark Street. The Denmark Street factory was rebuilt in 1898 according to the latest modern specifications. The factory burned down very soon after it was built, despite being designed to be fire-proof. By the end of the 1890s, Birch's was supplying furniture for Liberty's and other prestigious London stores Around 1900 the firm seems to have been one of the first to branch out into making general furniture in addition to chairs alone. Pioneered the development of Arts and Crafts-influenced furniture locally, and employed well-known designers such as EG Punnett, George Walton (who worked with Mackintosh) and Whitehead. Birch’s opened a second site in Wycombe at Leigh Street, and between 1931 and 1935 the whole business concentrated in Leigh St, in 1938 employing 350. The company was acquired by E. Gomme in 1954.

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Physical Description

Wood, painted white, decorative panel of inlaid copper, lead and woods in back, tapestry upholstery on seat and back.

Dimensions: 1343 x 699 x 572 mm

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