Edward William Godwin (1833-1886) for William Watt, A rare and important Old English or Jacobean ebonised curved back elbow chair, on tapered supports with X-stretchers.
This armchair was manufactured by William Watt, a unique example one I have never come across before, or seen anywhere, in regard to the cane seat which is unusual in as much as the cane wraps around the seat and still retains it's original inner hoop used to hold the cane where the back meets the seat and where the arms meet the seat and is no doubt a very early version and to Godwin's preferred seating choice 'in cane' and once re-caned will also have a much cleaner line to the whole design.
Godwin was the first designer to incorporate hygiene within the design of furniture and wrote many articles pertaining to this. In Susan Soros page 53 and 54 headed, 'The Sanitary Approach To Furniture Design' on page 53 it states that ,'This concern for domestic hygiene was a frequent theme in his writings and in an article on the furnishing of his own house in London he asserted that ''cleanliness...I take to be the first consideration in all domestic design.'' Godwin had a phobia for dust and dirt and on page 54 it notes that he designed a great many chairs in numerous styles with cane seats whose flat surfaces would not harbour dust or germs and could easily be cleaned, and goes on to say that, '' In addition, his popular Jacobean or Old English chairs first designed in 1867 had cane seats.
See Soros, Susan Weber ‘The Secular Furniture of E.W. Godwin’ for similar chair with high stretchers.
See also Sotheby’s with Paul Reeves ‘The Best of British Design from the 19th and 20th Centuries: The Selling Exhibition’, London 14th-20th March 2008, p. 53
Height 86cm. Circa 1867.