The year 1865 saw the surfacing of acclaimed Gothic Revival designer and manufacturer, Charles Bevan. Besides his evident forte, Bevan is recognised for his pattern drawing, encaustic tiles, gasoliers, stained glass and brass pole cornices; the aforementioned pattern-drawing being the earliest recorded of his activities, where he was featured in the ‘Building News’ of 1865, presenting an illustration of an inlaid Gothic-style davenport.
It is suspected that Bevan trained under renowned Gothic Revivalist J.P Seddon, architect and furniture designer; suggested through the confidently similar and inspired chunky, sophisticated geometric decoration found in quite a sum of Bevan’s works. This style was also considered to have relations to avant-garde architectural qualities, where the geometric aspects were stressed through the exquisite patterning.
His abilities as a woodcarver and cabinetmaker can be found in catalogues and periodicals of the time, equally they are demonstrated through collections on show at the V&A in London, and in a spread of stately homes around Cumbria.
Bevan worked alongside a number of furniture manufacturers including the names Gillows, Holland & Sons, J.P Seddon, and Marsh & Jones of Leeds, later reinvented as Marsh, Jones &Cribb. His association with Marsh & Jones lead to the production of an extensive collection of pieces for Sir Titus Salt, a Yorkshire based mill owner, for his home; hence the preservation of so much of his work from the years 1865-72. In this collection can be found an elaborate Medieval style bedroom suite and a marquetry grand piano. These pieces are currently housed in Leeds City Art Galleries, Temple Newsam House.
1867, the year of the Paris Exposition, presented another of Bevan’s commissions for James Lamb of Manchester, featuring a bookcase, alongside his design companion Bruce Talbert.
Bevan became a familiar name in the London International Exhibitions, appearing three years in a row from 1871-3. Amongst this progression in his career, his son George Alfred came in to partnership, forming the firm ‘C Bevan & Son Designers, Woodcarvers and Manufacturers of Art Furniture’.
Researched and written by Tony Geering & Kristy Campbell.