The exhibition is a true insider's look at the work of Sir Gordon Russell, reuniting Russell furniture and objects with original design drawings from the Russell archive. The exhibition also brings together furniture and objects designed by Gordon Russell from the Gordon Russell Design Museum and from private collectors across the UK, including the Russell family which have never before seen together.
JONATHAN RUSSELL, GRANDSON OF SIR GORDON RUSSELL
Pieces in the exhibition, many of which have never been seen in public include a Lloyd George Chest of Drawers, design 785, circa 1928. British Prime Minister David Lloyd George commissioned a Snowshill chest of drawers to be made from a holly tree that had fallen in his garden – this is how it got its name. This example was in Russell’s home and is from his family’s collection.
The influence of the Arts and Crafts movement can be seen in one of the earliest pieces in the exhibition, the beautifully detailed Paris Cabinet which cemented the reputation of the Broadway workshops and its craftsmen, winning the Gold Medal at the Paris International Exhibition in 1925. Where Gordon Russell differed from many of his predecessors and contemporaries however, was his willingness to embrace new technologies. Gordon Russell believed that it was through a blend of hand and machine - by ‘teaching the machine manners’ as he put it - that good design could be made affordable, and accessible to all.
Gordon Russell went on to become Director of the Council for Industrial Design (now the Design Council) and in his role as Chairman of the Utility Furniture Advisory Committee during the Second World War, his aim to design furniture that was affordable for all found new expression. He was Knighted for his services to design in 1955.