W.A.S. Benson and Harry Powell of James Powell & Sons

W.A.S. Benson and Harry Powell of James Powell & Sons

Arts & Crafts Glass & Metalwork

Moving in similar artistic circles and almost direct contemporaries, Harry Powell of James Powell & Sons and W.A.S. Benson shared the same commitment to progressive ideas in design and business and were natural collaborators. We are delighted to present a selection of works by Benson and Powell in our November auction of The Peter Rose & Albert Gallichan Collection.

W.A.S. Benson is today celebrated as a pioneer of Arts & Crafts lighting design, adept at using the reflective qualities of metal to enhance the light source. He had met William Morris through his friendship with Edward Burne-Jones and was encouraged by him to open a small workshop in Hammersmith, specialising in metalwork. In 1882 he moved to larger premises in Chiswick and in 1887 he opened showrooms on Bond Street. Throughout the 1880s Benson was involved in designing wallpapers and furniture for Morris & Co. and, on Morris’ death in 1896, Benson took over the direction of the company until he retired in 1917.

 

W. A. S. BENSON (1854-1924) & JAMES POWELL & SONS ARTS & CRAFTS HANGING LANTERN NO. 164A, CIRCA 1900LOT 29 | W. A. S. BENSON (1854-1924) & JAMES POWELL & SONS | ARTS & CRAFTS HANGING LANTERN NO. 164A, CIRCA 1900
copper, brass, and opalescent glass | 79cm (31in) high (approx.) | £1,200 - £1,800 + fees

 

View Lot 29 ⇒

 

Harry Powell took over as manager and chief designer of James Powell and Sons in 1875. The firm already had associations with Morris & Co. and the Pre-Raphaelite artists who were commissioned as designers on stained glass projects. Philip Webb’s glass designs for William Morris were made by James Powell & Sons in 1859 and heralded a new direction for the firm which marked them out from other manufacturers.

HARRY POWELL (1853-1922) (ATTRIBUTED) FOR JAMES POWELL & SONS, WHITEFRIARS SIX-BRANCH ELECTRIC CEILING LIGHT, CIRCA 1900LOT 25 | HARRY POWELL (1853-1922) (ATTRIBUTED) FOR JAMES POWELL & SONS, WHITEFRIARS | SIX-BRANCH ELECTRIC CEILING LIGHT, CIRCA 1900
wrought iron, opalescent glass | 53.5cm (23in) wide, 112cm (44in) high (approx.) | £1,500 - £2,500 + fees
 

View Lot 25 ⇒

 

From the 1860s, 16th and 17th century Venetian glass became very collectable, and Powells began to capitalise on this trend, producing hand-blown domestic glass, which were reinterpreted and adapted to suit the company’s style of simple, elegant forms. Another source of inspiration was ancient Roman glass and ceramics, and examples of both styles can be found in this collection.

 

W. A. S. BENSON (1854-1924) ARTS & CRAFTS TABLE LIGHT, CIRCA 1900LOT 39 | W. A. S. BENSON (1854-1924) | ARTS & CRAFTS TABLE LIGHT, CIRCA 1900
silvered metal, cut glass shade and beaded fringe | 54cm (21 1/4in) high | £1,000 - £1,500 + fees

 

View Lot 39 ⇒

 

Both Powell and Benson were members of the Art Workers Guild which encouraged interdisciplinary skills and so Powell for example became adept at designing metalwork, incorporating it into his products. Benson designed across the disciplines. They promoted their work through The Studio and other publications and through participation in international exhibitions and stood together at The Glasgow International Exhibition of 1901 and The Arts & Crafts Exhibition of 1903. The opaline glass used for the shades on many of Benson’s lights, with several examples in this collection, were developed by the firm from 1862 and perfected by Powell, a chemist by training, by 1877.

 

 

View all works by Benson ⇒

 

View all works by Powell ⇒

 

 


 

Auction Information

 

The Peter Rose & Albert Gallichan Collection

Tuesday 30th Nov 2021 10:00

Live Online | Viewing at Noho Studios, London

 

View the auction catalogue ⇒

 


 

Design from 1860 - 1945

 

Lyon & Turnbull’s Decorative Arts & Design specialists are renowned for both their knowledge and their sales of artworks conducted from our Scottish auction house based in Edinburgh and via our live online auctions. Our specialists are experts not only on design from 1860 to the present, but also on current market conditions, an essential combination to any successful auction.

 

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