Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
  • About Des
  • Contact

    The Zodiac settle by William Burges. (click on image to enlarge)

    A piece of Gothic Revival furniture with unique architectural, artistic and literary connections has been sold for £850,000.  The Zodiac settle was designed by the leading 19th century architect William Burges (1827 – 1881).  Once owned by John Betjeman and Evelyn Waugh, it has just been sold by the Waugh family.
    Built around 1869 the ornate canopied bench combines the form of an Italian Reniassance day-bed.  Burges, whose first major commission was for St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral in Cork in 1863, installed the settle in his home at Tower House in Holland Park, London.  It was acquired by Betjeman in 1961 when he acquired the remaining short lease on Tower House. He gave it to Evelyn Waugh.
    Because of its significance the settle was subject to a temporary export bar from Britain last year after it was sold to an overseas buyer.  Cecil Higgins Art Gallery & Bedford Museum, which houses a collection of Burges furniture, led a fundraising campaign to buy the work. Their campaign was successful thanks to a £480,000 grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF), £190,000 from the Trustees of the Cecil Higgins Art Gallery and £180,000 from The Art Fund.
    The settle will now form the centre piece of the Art Gallery & Museum’s new William Burges Gallery, due to open to the public late in 2012.

    Comments are closed.