Bruce Talbert was a prominent member of the first wave of Glaswegian architects and designers, including Alexander 'Greek' Thompson, Daniel Cottier and Christopher Dresser. Talbert originally trained as a carver before working as an architectural draughtsman in Glasgow.
Bruce Talbert subsequently became a prolific commercial designer of furniture, metalwork, stained glass, wallpapers, textiles and carpets and produced several influential publications including ‘Gothic Forms applied to Furniture Metalwork’ and ‘Decoration for Domestic Purposes’ which had a big impact on the way in which the revived Gothic style was used in domestic design.
Through his various publications he influenced the international design community and he was particularly celebrated in The United States. It could be said that Talbert was responsible for the design vocabulary of designers and firms such as the Herter Brothers, Kimbel and Cabus, Frank Furness and Daniel Pabst.
The chairs in the current lot represent the very best of his work, in terms of design and quality of execution, and are unusual in retaining the original velvet upholstery. The accompanying illustration shows the chairs in a room setting, with minor variants as is common with design suggestions. This illustration was published in 'Gothic Forms' (Applied to Furniture, Metalwork and Decoration for Domestic Purposes by B.J. Talbert, Archt., London.) and published by S. Birbeck in 1867.
This design appears in Cox & Sons catalogues of 1873 and 1876. Talbert drew similar nefs on furniture in his publications.