Kenton & Company (1891 - 1892)

Table (1890-1892)

Sidney Howard Barnsley (1865 - 1926), Kenton & Company (1891 - 1892)

This table (described in the records variously as an 'architect's table', 'refectory table', 'desk') was made by Kenton & Co. around 1890-92. The firm, inspired by Morris & Co., was founded in 1890 by Ernest Gimson, Sidney Barnsley, W R Lethaby, Reginald Blomfield and others with the aim of designing and making furniture on Arts & Crafts principles. Lack of capital forced the company to disband in 1892, each partner taking a share of the remaining stock of furniture.

It would seem the table was acquired by the Barnsleys; according to Edward Barnsley, Sidney's son (letter in WMG files, 3 December, 1979) "the mahogany table used to be in my uncle Ernest's (Barnsley) sitting room library at Sapperton.... my memory is that I always thought it a very sensible, paracticial attractive piece. There was another one made on very similar lines but with drawers at the ends. Might have had two each end. With some inlay I think on edge of top, and on the drawer fronts, I think..." After the deaths of both Ernest and Sidney Barnsley in 1926, the table was acquired by architect, W R Lethaby.,The table appears in a photograph - one of a series taken at the Kenton & Co. exhibition at Barnard's Inn, 1891 - on which are a series of mirrors designed by Reginal Blomfield. The table was lent by the donor to the Senior Common Room of the Central School of Art & Design for some years before donated to WMG.