Arthur W Simpson (The Handicrafts Kendal) Arts & Crafts Lakes School Oak Dresser


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An Arts & Crafts Lakes School English Oak Dresser by Arthur W. Simpson 1895. One of the earliest known pieces by this important Arts and Crafts maker with beautiful examples of his carving on the back panel and the doors. A very impressive item.. Featuring:

  • Solid English Oak
  • Very well figured quarter-sawn English Oak (quarter-sawing is a way of sawing oak to produce boards with superior strength which also reveals decorative 'medullary rays' in its grain.)
  • Two drawers (made with single plank fronts solid drawer carcasses joined with hand-cut lap and through dovetails and solid bases)
  • Two cupboard doors with single plank raised fielded panels each with a feature carving surrounded by rails and stiles joined by through tenons. The left carving containing the initial APF and the right one the date 1895
  • Open central section with single shelf
  • Upper section with carved back featuring Acorns and oak weaves
  • Planked back

Approximate dimensions are:

  • Overall Length 1740mm (5 feet 8 1/2 inches)
  • Overall Depth 570mm (1 foot 10 1/4 inches)
  • Overall Height 1475mm (4 feet 10 inches)
  • Base Height 945mm (3 feet 1 inch)
  • Top Depth 260mm ( 10 inches)
If you need a very exact dimension, or one we haven't included, feel free to contact us and we will measure it for you.


'A W. Simpson’ signature carved in the back panel (matching figure 132 in The Beautiful Furniture of The Simpsons of Kendal by Hugh Wright, Bookcase Carlisle, 2011 and described on page 198)

Very good condition with with snugly closing doors, smoothly sliding drawers, tight joints and original finish. Keys not present, some moderate marks on the top and upper shelf. If you wish to have further specific photographs or talk to us for a more detailed condition report then please do not hesitate to contact us.

Arthur W. Simpson and his Kendal based furniture making company 'The Handicrafts' was a renowned arts and crafts maker associated with very high quality hand crafted furniture, who worked with by members of the Artworker's Guild, such as Voysey and Baillie-Scott. Today, items of Simpson furniture are hard to find and avidly collected. Materials, workmanship and design are always of the highest quality

The most British of woods, that can produce really special results. English oak has been used for hundreds of years to construct everything from sea-going vessels to fine furniture. Although oak grows widely across Europe and North America, craftsmen continue to cherish English oak which grows more slowly than its foreign counterparts giving it strength, durability. Quarter sawn boards are very straight grained and have distinctive growth rings and medullary rays that give a very beautiful effect as well as being renowned for their superior stability and strength

The Arts & Crafts Lakes School was a development of the Arts and Craft Cotswold School. The most significant designers and makers were Arthur Simpson, in Kendal, Stanley Webb Davies at Windermere and the Keswick School of Industrial Arts. Peter Hall of Staveley still produces furniture in this tradition. The Lakes School maintained the ideals with its simple lines, attention to the finest of details, the use of beautiful locally materials and the focus traditional tools and techniques. In fact Stanley Webb Davies' workshop didn't use any power tools at all, even to cut logs from timber! The dominant material was English Oak and typical decorative details often include exposed joints and subtle carved details

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