A splendid Arts and Crafts period mahogany 2 piece bedroom set by Shapland and Petter of Barnstaple. Of fine construction in mahogany and decorated with stylised Art Nouveau/Arts and Crafts period floral marquetry inlay. Further embellished with exquisite solid copper hardware. Exhibiting so many style features redolent of the period. The set comprises of a wardrobe and a matching dressing table. The wardrobe has a central mirrored door which opens to reveal a large compartment with a fitted hanging rail and hooks. The right hand door also opens to reveal an interior fitted with shelves. Both compartments still with their original lining material in place. To the base there is an arrangement of 1 long and 1 short drawer. The dressing table has an adjustable mirror sitting over an arrangement of 2 short and 1 long drawers. Sympathetically refinsihed in our workshops and now offered for sale in excellent condition. With a rich colour and patina , ready to go straight into the home. The wardrobe splits down into sections for ease of installation. Locks stamped S & P , B.
Shapland & Petter was a Devonshire company whose Arts & Crafts furniture is at last receiving the recognition it deserves. Critics have argued that their furniture was machine manufactured, and thus does not qualify for the title of Arts & Crafts. However, their machines were used in combination with exquisite hand-tooled skills, and no-one who has seen one of Shapland & Petter’s finely carved Victorian dining chairs can doubt the craftsmanship of their work.
The Shapland and Petter factory was established by cabinetmaker Henry Shapland (1823 – 1909), following a trip to America in 1848. While there, he saw an ingenious new machine which he realised could be used for cabinetmaking. Upon his return to Barnstaple, he reproduced the machine from notes he’d made and set up business in a mill. He later met Henry Petter, an accountant, and together they achieved rapid success. In 1888 the mill burned down. Undeterred, they moved to larger premises. The same factory now produces high-quality joinery.
Hand-tooled or machine-made? Antique cabinets that were both
Furniture by Shapland and Petter, such as their antique dining chairs , is highly collectable by Arts & Crafts furniture enthusiasts, despite breaking the “rules” of the movement. Looking at the detailed carving on a Shapland and Petter antique chest today, it is hard to imagine it being produced in what was, for its time, one of the most cutting-edge factories in Britain.
The new factory was arranged in blocks, with a production line of up to 350 employees, which ran from the saw mills to the finishing sheds. However, keen as they were to adopt labour-saving devices, the men also saw the need for traditional craftsmanship. They imported American machine tools that were backed by an army of skilled cabinetmakers, carvers, designers and polishers.
From Victorian dining chairs to antique bookcases, Shapland and Petter furniture is defined its detailed carving. Those employed for this task underwent a 7-year apprenticeship, using up to 100 tools for the most elaborate designs. The factory was soon producing furniture and interiors to order, for banks, hotels, private homes and even Pullman railway carriages. Notable commissions included the London Guildhall, Edgar Wallace ‘s home, and the mansion house at Tapeley Park.
From Antique marquetry furniture to the Art Nouveau period
Shapland & Petter antiques range from simple rustic Arts & Crafts furniture to intricate antique marquetry furniture, embellished with the fluid organic designs of the Art Nouveau movement. Their antique cabinets often made use of finely detailed lead glass panels and delicate fruitwood inlays however, many of these intricately crafted pieces were mass-produced standards.