Monday, 18 November 2013

Can't afford the new Sheila Bownas sofa?

What do you think of this sofa/daybed, designed using fabric from the Sheila Bownas archive and created in collaboration with furniture-makers, Parlour? 

It's called the Edwin, and I think the shade of blue, the smooth solid walnut, 50s-ish legs and back and the classic, boxy shape make it very good indeed.

Alas, thanks to rather beautiful details like these...

...it costs £2400. But if you can't stretch to that, you might like the accessories in the same range.

The cushions, above, and prints, below, come in olive yellow, steel blue or grey. Cushions, £55 each.

The prints are limited editions and come with the official Sheila Bownas archive stamp (more of which shortly). They're 50x70cm so can fit into a standard frame, which saves a bit of money – and the prints themselves cost cost £65 each.

There are lamps in the range, too. These were designed in collaboration with English lamp designer, Zoe Darlington, and cost £125. The base is solid ash, and the shades come in two main colours: white or grey linen, with a choice of lining colours, again in the Edwin range fabric.

Check out the Edwin range at Shielabownas.com

The backstory of the Sheila Bownas range, in case you don't already know it, is an interesting one. The Yorkshirewoman and prize-winning Slade graduate exhibited five of her paintings at the Royal Academy of Arts in 1949. She then went on to turn her talents to textile design, producing fabrics for Liberty, Crown Wallpapers and Marks and Spencer. But it wasn't until her death, in 2007, that her family discovered a vast archive of other work in her studio. This archive was bought by superfan, Chelsea Cefai, a year later – she is gradually producing pieces that showcase Sheila's work.

Not a dissimilar rescue story to that of the company behind the archive of Australian mid-century designer, Florence Broadhurst. I have some of Florence's textiles in my living room; that massive monochrome canvas on the wall, above left, is one of hers – and there's more about that in this previous post about how to make expensive textiles or wallpapers go a long way. You might also like Florence Broadhurst's amazing rampaging horses fabric, which you can just see poking out (also black and white) in the cushion mountain on my sofa.

Post by Kate


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