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Holman Hunt's Egyptian chairs designed by W. Holman Hunt. [Click on image to enlarge it.] In Pre-Raphaelitism and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood Hunt explains that

In furnishing my new house I was determined, as far as possible, to eschew the vulgar furniture of the day. Articles for constant practical use were somewhat regulated by necessity; but in the living rooms I could exercise control. For ordinary seats Windsor chairs satisfied me, but I kept these in countenance by a handsome arm-chair of old English form, and devised an ornamental scroll and shield, with my monogram to give it individuality. A more independent effort was the designing of a chair, based on the character of an Egyptian stool in the British Museum, to serve as a permanent piece of beautiful furniture. All these were excellently made by Messrs. Crace; to these was added the sideboard given by my generous friend, Augustus Egg, in recognition of my love of pure form in furniture. In course of time I added to these a Portuguese cabinet and a Spanish one for my studio. I had here to restrain further expenditure, still, I had done as much as I could to prove my theory that the designing of furniture is the legitimate work of the artist. When I showed my small group of household joys to my P.R.B. friends the contagion spread, and Brown, who idolised the Egyptian chairs, set a carpenter to work to make some of similar proportions. In short, he proposed to introduce his newly-found carpenter to me as a much more economical manufacturer than my own, able to make me a sadly-needed table. He offered his own excellent design for one, which, with a few substantial modifications, I gratefully accepted. After this the rage for designing furniture was taken up by others of our circle until the fashion grew to importance. [I, 135-36]

Related Material


William Holman Hunt, Pre-Raphaelitism and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. 2 vols. New York: Macmillan, 1905.

Biographical materials

Last modified 25 October 2012