An important ‘Hayrake’ oak dining table designed by Ernest Gimson and made at the Sapperton workshop
An important ‘Hayrake’ oak dining table designed by Ernest Gimson and made at the Sapperton workshop
An important ‘Hayrake’ oak dining table designed by Ernest Gimson and made at the Sapperton workshop

ERNEST GIMSON (1864-1919)

An important ‘Hayrake’ oak dining table designed by Ernest Gimson and made at the Sapperton workshop

c. 1910 England

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The solid oak top supported on broad chamfered legs, the ‘Y’ shaped stretcher with further wishbone brace, stop-chamfered, jointed and pegged throughout.

Ernest Gimson (1864-1919)
Ernest Gimson was described by the art critic Nikolaus Pevsner as “the greatest of the English architect-designers”. Born in Leicester, the son of an engineer, he had the fortune to meet William Morris who came to stay with the Gimson family in 1884 after lecturing at the Leicester Secular Society on ‘Art & Socialism’. The young Gimson impressed Morris so much, he wrote letters of introduction for him to London architects. After experience gained in the architectural practice of John Dando Sedding and then with Morris for The Society for The Protection of Ancient Buildings and now firmly part of an enthusiastic circle of young architects and designers such as William Lethaby, Alfred Powell, Detmar Blow and the brothers Ernest and Sidney Barnsley, Gimson moved in 1893 to the Cotswolds, “to live near to nature”.
Gimson and the Barnsley brothers settled near Cirencester and went into partnership, setting up a small furniture workshop there. In 1900 he formed a partnership with Ernest, with workshops and a showroom at Daneway House, Sapperton, employing cabinet makers such as Peter Waals and Harry Davoll. For the rest of his life he designed furniture and objects true to the Arts & Crafts movement, using limited machinery, skilled craftsmen and exploring the ways of the traditional crafts and buildings around them.
Today his work is well represented in collections in Britain and America, such as the New Walk Museum, Leicester, the Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum, Gloucestershire, Rodmarton Manor and Owlpen Manor.

The Design
The design for this remarkable Arts & Crafts table is inspired by the simple utilitarian agricultural tools of the English countryside. The heel rake was used to gather up hay into winnows and has a distinctive ‘Y’ shape. The free-thinking architects and designers such as Ernest Gimson were aware of the work of the wheelwright and the coach maker and incorporated this knowledge into their designs. Gimson’s ‘hayrake’ tables are the best known of this style of furniture. Typically the edges of the stretcher are chamfered, evoking the wooden tools in the fields and the frames of farm wagons. They were produced in the Sapperton workshop by skilled craftsmen such as Peter van der Waals, his chief cabinet-maker, using little machinery and constructing the tables with pegs and joints and no metalwork.


Private UK collection
Dimensions
Height 71.00 cm (27.95 inches)
Width 198.00 cm (77.95 inches)
Depth 105.00 cm (41.34 inches)
Stock Code
1060
Cave Decorative Arts

Cave Decorative Arts
12 Clarendon Cross
London
W11 4AP
England

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