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Gerald Summers High Back Chair
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Design, Ethnographic & Ancient Art

Gerald Summers High Back Chair

The distressed white finish is often the choice of collectors

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Gerald Summers High Back Chair


Designed 1934

By Gerald Summers (1899-1967)

Made by 'Makers of Simple Furniture' 1932-1940

Birch Plywood with original white tinted polish

Height 102 cm width 44 cm depth 51 cm ( 40.25 x 17.5 x 20.25 in )

This remarkable chair has significant presence yet is almost weightless being constructed of 1.5mm aeroplane ply. The back of the chair spreads from a tight curve at the base, constrained by the shape of the seat, to a flexible, gentle sweep at the top. This variable curve is significant historically as it pre-dates the multi-directional curves used by the American designers Charles and Ray Eames some ten years later in the 1940's. The chair is extremely rare as it retains its original polish.

Gerald Summers was the most innovative designer in Britain in the 1930's but his significance is only now being appreciated as emphasis has heretofore been placed upon the achievements of European and Scandinavian architect/designers; 'Makers of Simple Furniture' was also a small company, producing mainly to order, without the publicity machine of larger workshops.

Museums & Exhibitions:

Victoria & Albert Museum: The Bent Plywood Armchair is on permanent exhibition in the new 20th Century Furniture Galleries.

Museum of Modern Art, New York Exhibition 2014: The Magic of Plywood

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Vitra Design Museum

Thirties British Art and Design before the War organized by the Arts Council of Great Britain, London 1979

'Constructivism in Art & Design' Crafts Council Gallery, London 1988.


The Design History Journal 1992 Vol 5 No 3 - precis of Masters' thesis by Martha Deese, Metropolitan Museum New York

Gerald Summers: Furniture For the Concrete Age Dunn and Mantz pub. 2012

1000 Chairs Charlotte and Peter Fiell, Cologne 2000 p.232

Design for Today 1934

100 Masterpieces Vitra Design Museum

Furnishing the small Home published London and New York 1930's by the Studio Ltd.

A History of British Design 1839-1970 Fiona McCarthy pub. 1972

Bent Wood and Metal Furniture 1850-1946 University of Washington Press edited by Derek E. Ostergard

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