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Art Nouveau Mackmurdo Dining Room Set
[Mackmurdo Dining Set]

[Mackmurdo Chair]

[Mackmurdo Dining Set]

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[Mackmurdo Dining Set]

This client saw images of the Mackmurdo Chair I had designed for a client in Los Angeles. She wanted to have a dining room set with 6 of these chairs, made in cherry wood. The table was to be a new but very basic design, in order to allow the chairs to stand out. For this purpose we chose curly maple wood for the table, which provided great contrast to the ebonized back splats and rich cherry wood of the chairs.

The Art Nouveau Mackmurdo Chair was derived from an original design by Arthur Heygate Mackmurdo (A. H. Mackmurdo) in 1888. The backsplat of the chair mimics the famous Art Nouveau graphic design he had made of a thistle plant. Only two such chairs were made for his own home in the outer Hebrides. Of these two, only one survives in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

We had seen this chair published on several occasions, but were pleased to examine it carefully at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC in 2000, as part of a traveling exhibition of Art Nouveau Design. My interpretation uses modern technology to create a multi-layered, curved and molded back splat, which was then cut with lasers based on a drawing that I had made and supplied. In this replication, the chair is significantly stronger than the original, and the delicate thistle design retains the boldness of its ‘hard-edge’.