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WIDDICOMB: V&A MUSEUM COLLECTION DUE INITIAL LAUNCH A CROSS-SECTION OF 18TH- AND 19TH-CENTURY FURNITURE.

HIGH POINT, N.C.-John Widdicomb Inc. is set to introduce the first-ever American licensed collection of furniture from the Victoria and Albert Museum at market next month. The initial launch is a cross-section of 14 pieces inspired mainly by 18th- and 19th-century furniture owned by the London-based museum of decorative art and design. "If there are two decorative art periods strongly identified with classic English style and design at its best, it's the Georgian and Regency eras," said Jim DeVries, president of John Widdicomb Inc.

"After determining that there are few, if any, cohesive furniture collections representing these periods in the marketplace today, we combed the archives at the Victoria and Albert Museum and selected some of their best examples of traditional English furniture design." "The collaboration of John Widdicomb and the Victoria and Albert Museum is a significant event," noted Michelle Alfandari, president of Moda, International, the North American licensing and marketing arm of the museum. "The breadth and quality of Widdicomb's V&A Museum Furniture Collection insures that it will, undoubtedly, form the centerpiece of our home furnishings licensees."

V&A home furnishings licensees currently include mid-range to high-end companies producing lamps and decorative accessories, wall coverings, decorative pillows, garden ornaments and sculpture, dinnerware and other tabletop products. Among these are Nikko Ceramics, Philip Deshoulieres, Silvestri/International Silver, Royal Selangor and Linden Clocks. Showing here at market will be Lotus Arts and Windemere, Austin Sculpture and Thief River Linens. Each licensed company draws on the vast resources -- over five million objects -- of the museum, to create new products for contemporary lifestyles. Working with the V&A "Inspiring Design" program, rather than replicating art and artifacts, they develop new designs.

According to DeVries, among the highlights of the furniture collection are an English Regency-style inlaid pedestal table, and a Louis XVI-style oval table inspired by David Roentgen, the furniture designer acclaimed for his work for Catherine the Great, as well as a sofa inspired by an 18th-century settee at Osterely Park House, possibly by John Lineal. The Victoria and Albert Museum was born of the cultural idealism of the mid-19th century. Political stability and Britain's position as a world power fueled the belief of society leaders that "life for everyone could be continuously improved through education and example." The Museum of Manufactures, as it was originally called, "aimed to make works of art available to all, to educate the working population and to inspire British designers and manufacturers."
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Author:Wray, Kimberley
Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Date:Sep 28, 1998
Words:410
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