Arts and Crafts with an English Accent
Desk and wall cabinet make an elegant matched set
Synopsis: Styled after a well-known English Arts and Crafts manufacturer’s work, this desk incorporates the signature square, flared feet and curved front aprons of the Harris Lebus firm. The wall-mounted gallery is a perfect complement, incorporating Lebus’s signature crown, with its dramatic bevels and exaggerated overhangs. The curved front apron is created with a mix of hand and power tools; the joinery for the desk includes mortise-and-tenon and dovetails. The wall-hung cabinet construction is basic, with routed through-dovetails at the corners and stopped dadoes housing the vertical dividers. An elegant dragonfly inlay enhances the doors.
For several years around the turn of the 20th century, an English manufacturing firm, Harris Lebus, produced classically styled English Arts and Crafts furniture that is highly collectible in Britain today, but not well known in the United States.
Lebus was one of very few Arts and Crafts manufacturers to combine the movement’s ideal of making beautiful, useful, yet affordable objects with running a profitable business. It did so with striking examples of British Arts and Crafts design, featuring elements that set it apart from American Arts and Crafts furniture by Stickley, Hubbard, Greene and Greene, and others.
For today’s furniture makers seeking a fresh take on Arts and Crafts, these designs are a great resource. Best of all, in my view, they are drop-dead gorgeous.
In designing this desk, I closely followed a set of the company’s drawings for bedroom furniture, incorporating the square, flared feet and curved front aprons. The wall-mounted gallery is a perfect complement, combining Lebus’s signature crown, with its dramatic bevels and exaggerated overhangs, with a simple inlay. The cabinet was originally designed to sit on the desk, but I raised it to the wall to keep needed items handy while freeing up space on the…