Learning Index >> Pioneers and their practice: a reference guide

Furniture >> Ernest Gimson (1864-1919)
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Ada Mason

Gimson was born in Leicester, the son of an engineer. He was articled to the architect Isaac Barradale and, as an apprentice, also studied at Leicester School of Art in the years 1881-4. After hearing William Morris lecture, he went to work for the architect J.D. Sedding in London, and there associated with Morris, Lethaby and other members of the Art Workers' Guild and the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society. He also learnt to make country chairs and decorative plasterwork in his spare time.

In 1893 he married and moved to Gloucestershire in company with Ernest and Sidney Barnsley*; they designed and built three individual houses to live in at Sapperton and became known as the Cotswold group of craftsmen. By 1902 Gimson was chiefly concerned with designing furniture and his workshop at Daneway House was led by the cabinetmaker Peter Waals. Fine furniture and plasterwork was produced there to Gimson's drawings, while his metalwork was made at local forges. The principles of the Cotswold style of furniture included the use of English hardwoods, exposed joints, chamfered surfaces, decorative stringing and other inlaid details. Ernest Gimson also continued to design buildings and his last major project was the library (1918-19) at Bedales School, near Petersfield, Hampshire.

*Denotes included in the Crafts Study Centre Collection



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