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The New Renaissance

A revival in taste, which has been not inappropriately termed " The New Renaissance," and has produced many excellent results, has been brought about by several well-known architects and designers. The late Mr. Street, R.A.; Messrs. Norman Shaw, R.A.; Waterhouse, R.A.; Sir Alma Tadema, R.A.; T. G. Jackson, R.A.; W. Burges, R.A.; Walter Crane, Thomas Cutler, E. W. Godwin, W. Morris, B. J. Talbert, S. Webb, and many others, have devoted a considerable amount of attention to the design of furniture; but it is scarcely within the writer's province to attempt a description of the character of their respective work.

The " Trade " Journals, too, have contributed their influence by publishing drawings of work completed, suggestions for their readers to carry out, and also by illustrated notices of the different exhibitions which take place from time to time.

The " Cabinet Maker and Art Furnisher," edited by Mr. J. Williams Benn, M.P., L.C.C., contains " Pen and Ink Notes by the Editor," which should be useful, as they are certainly instructive; and a number of good designs are published month by month, in " Furniture and Decoration." These are contributed by J. W. Bliss, R. A. Briggs, A.R.I.B.A., H. L. Chalmers, Owen W. Davis, Lewis F. Day, Edwin Foley, Christopher Gill, Bertram Goodhue, Ernest George and Peto, A. Jonquet, Felix Lenoir, Letharby, Wilbert. Rattray, Stenhouse, John Turner, Frank Ward, A. H. Wolf, and the editors themselves - Timms and Webb.

In the " American Sketches " published in this Journal, we see the kind of work which is being designed and carried out in the United States. Designs of furniture and interior fittings of the houses of American millionaires, drawn by Cauffmann; Frank Colburn, of Morristown, New Jersey; Sanford Phipps, and James Thompson, of Boston; Ross and Marvin, of New York, shew that there is no distinctive American style, but that the revival in taste, which has been alluded to in England, has found its way to America, and from the number of articles of furniture still called after Mr. Eastlake, it is evident that the teachings of that gentleman had considerable effect. The " Furniture Gazette," " The Builder," and " Building News " also publish designs of furniture and woodwork.

The disadvantages, inseparable from our present state of society, which we have noticed as prejudicial to English design and workmanship, and which check the production of really satisfactory furniture, are also to be observed in other countries; and as the English, and English-speaking people, are probably the largest purchasers of foreign manufactures, these disadvantages act and re-act on the furniture of different nations.

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