Forthcoming Design Sales at Sworders

Forthcoming Design Sales at Sworders

We are currently consigning for our autumn auction of Design to be held on Monday 24 & Tuesday 25 October with entries closing Friday 9 September.

23 June 2022

The sale will concentrate on 20th century British Design and we are seeking lots from the following categories -

British Arts and Crafts / Art Pottery / Doulton / Gordon Russell / Liberty & Co / William Morris / William De Morgan / Ernest Gimson / Sidney Barnsley / CFA Voysey / EW Godwin / Robert ‘Mouseman’ Thompson / Martin Brothers


Already consigned for the sale in the autumn is an Arts and Crafts bookcase designed by Sidney Barnsley (1865-1926) from the Estate of John and Ann Kay.

John and Ann Kay were both architects who designed their family home in Clapham in 1966. The house became Grade II listed in 2018 and is an important contribution to the preservation of 1960s modernist design in London.

They were both founder members of the William Morris Society. Their house contained elements of modernism alongside inspiration from the Arts and Crafts Movement and reflected William Morris’s belief that you should ‘Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be beautiful or believe to be useful'. They built a collection of Arts and Crafts furniture and pieces by 20th century British Artists.



Sidney Barnsley Bookcase

Sidney Barnsley (1865-1926)
An oak bookcase, the carcass with visible dovetail construction, fitted with a pair of bar and glazed doors, with chip craved details, enclosing four fixed shelves on sledge supports, 114cm wide 39cm deep 165cm high

Provenance: John and Ann Kay

The Fine Art Society, 1986, cat no. 63 from the collection of Charles Canning Winmill (1865-1945) with receipt and copy of the catalogue.


John's interest in furniture led him to design and build bookcases for his home and the William Morris Society. On retirement from the Department of Education, where he was Chief Architect, he designed and made a most beautiful and exquisitely delicate clavichord, which was exhibited at the William Morris Society's Crafts Fair.

John was associated, on behalf of the Society, with a number of major projects, including the William Morris 1984 ICA Exhibition and the highly successful 1996 touring exhibition, 'William Morris and the Crafts Today', which was undertaken in co-operation with the Society of Designer Craftsmen.

The bookcase was purchased at the Fine Art Society in 1986 and formed part of a collection of works from Charles Canning Winmill.

Charles Canning Winmill (1865-1945) trained with John Newman and then in the offices of Leonard Stokes, before joining the housing department of the old London County Council. It was through William Weir - a contemporary at Stokes’ office who left to become an assistant to Philip Webb - that he met Webb and George Jack. In 1898 he was sent by the Committee of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings to make a survey of Bath Abbey; he was joined on this by Ernest Gimson who became a close friend.

Winmill used to regularly visit Gimson at Sapperton and much of his furniture was made by the Cotswold craftsmen. Soon after the outbreak of the Second World War, Winmill moved from Rochester to Henham in Essex. Much of the larger pieces of furniture were sold to Sir Ambrose Heal, and other smaller items were given to the Victoria and Albert Museum and the William Morris Museum.




If you would like to discuss a valuation for the sale of a single item, or a large collection, in the UK or abroad, please contact John Black - | 01279 817778




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