A Talking Point: how Robin Myerscough is giving Georgian details a personal touch
There are many lovely things about antique furniture – the stories! the patina! the workmanship! – but size is, often, not one of them. However charming your latest 1stdibs find might be, it’s unlikely that it’s been designed with a contemporary living space in mind, which means, when it comes to fitting it neatly into your newly reconfigured living room, problems can arise. It was precisely this problem (and his “frustration” with it) that lead Tetbury-based dealer and interior designer Robin Myerscough to start producing his own range of made-to-order furniture. “More often than not, you can never find the right sized original,” he says. “But occasionally, an old design can be tweaked, improved and given a contemporary twist.”
His latest range of historically-inspired pieces, produced in collaboration with Hampshire cabinetmaker Lascombe Hill Design, is a testimony to just how well this simple idea can work. Comprising a characterful, bobbin-legged chair alongside faux bamboo mirrors, side tables and an upholstered bench, it’s a collection that succeeds as a fond tribute to restrained neoclassicism and, at the same time, is something of a postmodernist statement. Recontextualised in bright shades of red, green and yellow, the faux bamboo in particular feels playful and contemporary – a striking achievement, given that it’s an idea that’s been around since the 18th century in Western furniture.
These designs, as with Robin’s previous brass and reeded collections, are a reflection of his eclectic – and early – schooling in the world of antiques, which he describes, with great bathos, as “being dragged around antique shops and art galleries as a child by my late father, who had a wonderful eye.” From there, he says, he has been “immersed” in interiors for most of his working life, whether that’s been through jobs at auction houses, selling hand-knotted rugs or in his work as a decorator and antique dealer, which, inevitably (see “frustration”, above) led him into the role of furniture designer.
Any which way, his various professional pursuits have seen him emerge with a style he describes as “magpie-like”; he explains “whether its an 18th-century English chair or a mid-20th-century Italian console, if the design is good, I am drawn to it.” His collaboration with Lascombe Hill’s David Ellis on this particular collection draws upon both their shared love of antiques and David’s formidable skills as a cabinetmaker, developed over 30 years in the business. The appealing detailing of the bobbin legs on the occasional chair, which are cushioned and graduated with a gentle taper down to their lost wax castors is a particularly fine achievement, says Robin. But there is also the obvious appeal of the colours, too. These are achieved through specialist finishes which can be customised to suit individual customers and spaces.
“The idea behind the collection is that each piece will sit well in any kind of decorative scheme,” says Robin. “There is a lightness and subtlety to smaller, occasional furniture, so you don’t need large spaces or grand architecture.” Of course, this is precisely the benefit of going down the made-to-order route in the first place: for a similar outlay, you’re far more likely to get exactly what you need. If you can get through the tricky business of picking a colour, that is.
All furniture is priced to order – contact Robin Myerscough for details.
On Faux Bamboo: Where East Meets West, Wendy Moonan, New York Times, 2002.
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