Lot 248
  • 248

Edward William Godwin for William Watt, 1833 - 1886

8,000 - 12,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Armchair
  • painted and gilt wood, tooled leather upholstery, repainted
  • 90.5 by 76 by 58cm., 35 5/8 by 30 by 23 7/8 in.
  • Originally designed in 1869 for Dromore Castle, Limerick.
the back legs with castors


Edward Joy, Dictionary of 19th century furniture design, London, 1977, p.152 for a design by E. W Godwin with hints and suggestions of domestic furniture by William Watt
Jill Lever, Architects' Design for Furniture, London, 1982, pp.80-81 for the original drawings
Elisabeth Aslin, E.W Godwin, Furniture and Interior Decoration, London, 1986, p.39, n.5 for the original drawings
A. Reid, 'Dromore Castle, County Limerick, Archaeology and the Sister Arts of E. W. Godwin', Architectural History, n. 30, 1987, pp.138 for Godwin's design in William Watt's 1877 catalogue

Catalogue Note

Godwin started his career as an architect with a few domestic projects in the early 1860s but Dromore Castle, commissioned in 1866 by William Hale Charles Perry, third Earl of Limerick, an Irish peer who shared Godwin's antiquarian enthusiasms, was his first opportunity for a large scheme of both building and interior. 
The outside of the building is an explicitly Irish castle, inspired by Godwin's considerable knowledge of Irish medieval buidings, the better for Lord Limerick to demonstrate his Irishness and establish his legitimacy as a Peer, but the interior is mostly a testament of Godwin's eclectic tastes, with furniture and decorations variously antique, medieval and Japanese. 

The model of the 'Eagle' Chair was originally designed for the Library at Dromore. Its eagles heads and feet show an Egyptian inspiration and the "curulle" form proves Godwin's understanding of Roman furniture. Godwin's detailed designs for the chair are in the collection of the British Architectural Library at the Royal Institute of British Architects (ref RIBA12540) and show his wish for naturalism. 

William Watt was responsible for producing all the furniture for Dromore Castle through his Art Furniture Company, and took over some of Godwin's patterns in his production. The 'Eagle' chair is featured in Watt's 1877 catalogue, with a 'sun' embossed leather upholstery appearing on the Dromore dining room example.

There is no indication of how many 'Eagle' chairs were produced for sale as a result of the 1877 catalogue, but certainly very few appear to have survived. 

A version in oak with variant stretcher and reupholstered in brown leather was sold at Christie's, London, May 5 1995, lot 30.