In the manner of Howard & Sons for Morris & Co - A bench seat or sofa on ring turned and tapered simulated rosewood front legs with applied swivel castors, upholstered in Bird pattern jacquard-woven woollen double cloth, 163cm, height of back 83cm and seat height 38cm, S/D.
The 'Bird' pattern was originally designed by William Morris in 1878 and the pattern was registered in the same year. It was originally designed for the walls of his drawing room at Kelmscott House. The fabric was probably made at the Merton Abbey Workshop. Morris himself referred to this type of fabric as woven wool tapestry, even though it is not technically a weave, but a double cloth.
Provenance - Inherited by the present owner from their father Douglas Hickman, a prominent Birmingham architect. Douglas Hickman was a member of the founding committee of the Birmingham Victorian Society when it was formed in 1967, campaigning for Victorian and Edwardian architecture. He was also the author of 'Birmingham', a book about the architecture of the city published as part of the City Buildings series in 1970. After his death and upon his bequest, the sofa has been on loan to the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and, after 30 years on loan to their collection, has recently been returned to the family.
The frame is neither stamped or numbered. The legs are in a painted simulated rosewood finish. The castors are Ok. The frame appears to be quite sturdy, although there is a little bit of 'play' to the arm rests. There are a number of patches of the fabric that has worn through to the backing cloth and there is splitting across the top of the back rest just below the roll top. The rear corners of the seat have worn right through to the backing cloth. There is no apparent woodworm damage to the frame. There are a number of tack holes around the bottom of the frame where the fabric was originally tacked but has now worn away. This is frayed particularly along the rear edge of the frame - see photos.
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