Exhibition Chair – City Dreaming



I didn’t realise a painted chair would cause such outrage! It is now being exhibited in London. My ‘art chair’ has been described as ‘Marmite’!  Loved and hated in equal measures, which is to be expected, but it has also offended many antiques collectors and experts …here it is!

Original 19th Century  ‘Art Chair’ by David Harper.

Title: City Dreaming

Inspired by the vibrancy of city living and featuring sights and sounds of city life

A Robert Winfield leather and steel rocking chair. This design was first exhibited by the Winfield Company at the Great Exhibition of London in 1851. There are examples of this chair in The British Museum & Bowes Museum.

This particular chair dates to the mid to late 19th century and has recently been reupholstered in leather – painted by David Harper in 2017/18

Being exhibited at The Daniel Raphael Gallery, Marylebone, London

Commissions similar to this taken. Furniture, Cars, Murals etc. Please get in touch to discuss dk.harper@yahoo.co.uk

History of the Robert Winfield Rocking Chair – Published article by David Harper 2015

R.W Winfield Rocking Chair

Over the last 20 years or so, I have bought and sold several Winfield design rocking chairs. The first time I saw one, I initially assumed it was a 1960’s design. In my defence, this particular chair in question was upholstered in an orange velvet, so obviously screamed out the 1960’s I thought!

An easy mistake to make, but a little research later and I was amazed to discovered that this design of chair was first exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London. So incredibly ahead of its time the design is, even today, you look at the shape and your brain tells you it was produced in the mid 20th century and not the mid 19th century.

Named after its designer Robert Winfield who was known as a metallic furniture maker and innovator when it came to furniture design.

The company R.W Winfield is listed in a number of business directories between 1835 and 1890. The firm had a factory in Birmingham and an office in London, making and supplying the world and particularly the empire with all sorts of wares from picture hooks, door furniture and even shop fronts.

R.W Winfield also advertised themselves as makers of patent military and campaign furniture (Please also see my article on Campaign Furniture)

Campaign pieces are basically any furniture items made specifically for travel, being designed in such a way that they could be carried with ease, with either chunky brass handles or dismantled completely to be packed away for long voyagers…obviously very sturdy and well made, so we’re not talking the flat pack kind of furniture you can buy today!

So Winfield supplied the gentleman traveller, the army officer, the colonial official and the empire builders of the day with high quality portable brass armchairs, tables, beds and all sorts of much needed comforts to remind them of home whist they were travelling through the wilderness or setting up a new residence in the tropics.

Even though the Winfield rocking chair doesn’t quite fall into the campaign furniture bracket, it was certainly easy to transport, sturdy enough for long distance travel and most definitely would of appealed to the wealthy fashion conscious buyers of the day. Many of these buyers were also setting up new homes and businesses throughout the world, so as rare as this chair design is, there will be examples of it still in use today in far flung places scattered across the old British Empire.

You can see examples of the Winfield rocking chair at The British Museum in London and The Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle, Co Durham

Copyright David Harper 2015