William Martin Furniture

To control SPAM, you must now be a registered user to post to this Message Board.

EFFECTIVE 14 Nov. 2012 PRIVATE MESSAGING HAS BEEN RE-ENABLED. IF YOU RECEIVE A SUSPICIOUS DO NOT CLICK ON ANY LINKS AND PLEASE REPORT TO THE ADMINISTRATOR FOR FURTHER INVESTIGATION.

This is the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy's Message Board. Wright enthusiasts can post questions and comments, and other people visiting the site can respond.

You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening, *-oriented or any other material that may violate any applicable laws. Doing so may lead to you being immediately and permanently banned (and your service provider being informed). The IP address of all posts is recorded to aid in enforcing these conditions. You agree that the webmaster, administrator and moderators of this forum have the right to remove, edit, move or close any topic at any time they see fit.
Hankoh
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Jul 03, 2017 5:39 am

William Martin Furniture

Post by Hankoh »

I am curious about a a drawing on the Artstor site for piece of furniture for the William E. Martin house. The Artstor description identifies it as "Sideboard Details" but the hand-written note on the drawing itself states it is "Desk and Table", which appears to be a more accurate description. Does anyone know if this was actually constructed for and used in the house? And if so, was it actually a desk? It is an interesting piece with a cabinet with drawers and a drop-down desk on one end and a cork-topped table on the other. The cabinet has tall narrow doors with glass panels, perhaps for some display? On the Artstor site the drawing numbers are 0304.017 for the desk/table and 0304.016 for the glass panels in the cabinet doors. I have made a few pieces of FLW designed furniture for my own use and am considering making a copy of this piece. By the way, thanks to DRN for pointing out the Artstor drawing collection!

SDR
Posts: 20291
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: William Martin Furniture

Post by SDR »

Hi, Hankoh, and welcome. I have found a number of mis-identified Wright-studio and Taliesin drawings at Artstor. There is the occasional upside-down image; one of the William E Martin sheets has evidence of a curious scanning glitch. (The Artstor item number for the "Desk and Table" drawing is 23.) https://library.artstor.org/#/search/Wr ... =1;size=48

What an interesting piece of furniture. Formally, it is a slab penetrating a T-shaped solid. It brings to mind other multi-use furnishings which appeared later in the career. Well-known by now is the couch-cabinet for the E P Irving house, now recognized to be the work of George Niedecken. Less familiar will be table-cabinets for the Bogk and Booth residences. There is no doubt that the Martin piece is Wright rather than Niedecken, whose design work for Wright seems to have commenced c. 1907. A characteristic of all of these pieces is their asymmetry. My word for work like this is furnitecture.

Both materials specified in a hand-written note on the Martin drawing are perhaps unusual for Wright in this period. Red oak is not the white variety so often called for on Wright drawings; cork as a work surface is almost unheard of ?

The Winged Victory of Samothrace is specified as the sculptural adornment; how very Wright !

W E Martin (1903):
Image
Image


Irving (c. 1910):
Image

Booth (1915):
Image
(above)
Image

Bogk (1916):
Image
Image

All, © 1999 by Milwaukee Art Museum and Cheryl Robertson, "Frank Lloyd Wright and George Mann Niedecken, Prairie School Collaborators"

Roderick Grant
Posts: 10615
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:48 am

Re: William Martin Furniture

Post by Roderick Grant »

The note that describes it as "Desk and Table" looks like one of those notes FLW wrote on his drawings long after the fact, but an 18"-width for a desk seems a bit narrow. I suspect this was an unmade piece designed for the library.

SDR
Posts: 20291
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: William Martin Furniture

Post by SDR »

Perhaps you'd prefer escritoire. It clearly functions as a writing surface. The Irving piece lost its desk---the upper part of the vertical cabinet---at some point, according to the caption on the page I posted.

Image

Image

SDR
Posts: 20291
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: William Martin Furniture

Post by SDR »

I went looking for online evidence of William Martin furnishings, and found a couple of windows at this auction from last year.

https://www.sothebys.com/en/buy/auction/2020/design/

While those are the only Wright pieces on offer, there are 300 lots of Tiffany, Art Nouveau and Art Deco glass, ceramics, clocks and (especially) lamps---quite the trove of treasure !

S

Hankoh
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Jul 03, 2017 5:39 am

Re: William Martin Furniture

Post by Hankoh »

SDR - I actually have toyed with the idea of making a copy of the Irving, Booth, or Bogk pieces also! Unfortunately some of those would take more space than I have available. The use of cork on the Martin piece, both on the tabletop and inside the cabinet, is interesting and unusual and I wonder what the intended use of the piece was. I understand William Martin was president of the Martin and Martin Stove Polish Company but I do not know anything else about him (other than the relationship to Darwin).

SDR
Posts: 20291
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: William Martin Furniture

Post by SDR »

Looking for earlier thread(s) on W E Martin I came across a link to a Flickr album with a few interior photos. See bottom of p 5, top of page 6.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/97982085@N08/page5

Also on p 5 is a Tallmadge & Watson interior with some frameless glazing at the ceiling. Shades of something found at the D Martin house ?

S

SDR
Posts: 20291
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: William Martin Furniture

Post by SDR »

I have little doubt that the Martin piece was intended as a work table and writing desk, perhaps (as Roderick suggests) for the library. The house was designed with a smallish breakfast room adjacent to the dining room; as built, that space became a library and the dining room occupied the area designed for the breakfast room and the kitchen. A wing extending to the east housed the kitchen and servant room.


Image
© The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)

Image
© 1993 by William Allin Storrer

Roderick Grant
Posts: 10615
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:48 am

Re: William Martin Furniture

Post by Roderick Grant »

The Wm. Martin House suffered through a lot of changes all over the place. I believe that the perspective in Ausge was what FLW wanted the house to look like. Instead, probably because a lot of meddling from the client, the street front turned into somewhat of a mess. Apparently, at some point, there was a rancorous break between them, and William hated Frank, but I have never read the details of what caused the animosity.

SDR
Posts: 20291
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: William Martin Furniture

Post by SDR »

Wright effectively hides the house in Ausgefürte Bauten; these are the only images:

Image


The view drawing in Wasmuth can be compared to, for instance, W A Storrer's photo:

Image

Image

juankbedoya
Posts: 224
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2019 10:30 am

Re: William Martin Furniture

Post by juankbedoya »

SDR wrote:
Sat Feb 27, 2021 1:44 pm
Perhaps you'd prefer escritoire. It clearly functions as a writing surface. The Irving piece lost its desk---the upper part of the vertical cabinet---at some point, according to the caption on the page I posted.

I really love this kind of furniture, a mix of table, bed, couch, desk, whatever... It would have been nice to see it applied for usonian houses as well, more simple

SDR
Posts: 20291
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: William Martin Furniture

Post by SDR »

Mr Wright designed no free-standing desks for his Usonian homes, as far as I know, but the typical Usonian bedroom included a built-in desk. Likewise, while most of these homes had free-standing tables of various heights and sizes, the dining table was built in virtually always---sometimes in the form of a stub or minimal table onto which matching additions could be placed as needed.

Combo pieces, however, are not common in any period of the career. Here's an interesting exception, at the 1915 Emil Bach house:

https://www.emilbachhouse.com/app/uploa ... jpg?x58610

The Irving combination piece shown above, and the Robie living-room couch with table-arms, were designed by George Mann Niedecken after Wright left for Europe. Another major work of furnitecture, at Hollyhock House, was presumably drawn by Wright; Roderick Grant or Stan Ecklund can enlighten us there, I'm sure.

https://www.gochicago.com/wp-content/up ... G_5679.jpg

https://archeyes.com/hollyhock-house-fr ... ving-room/

S

Hankoh
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Jul 03, 2017 5:39 am

Re: William Martin Furniture

Post by Hankoh »

SDR wrote:
Sun Mar 07, 2021 10:51 pm
Mr Wright designed no free-standing desks for his Usonian homes, as far as I know, but the typical Usonian bedroom included a built-in desk. Likewise, while most of these homes had free-standing tables of various heights and sizes, the dining table was built in virtually always---sometimes in the form of a stub or minimal table onto which matching additions could be placed as needed.
A few years ago I built a copy of a desk from the Sweeton Home which is a free-standing piece (I have seen that considered a Usonian home; perhaps that is not correct?). Obviously it is a small, simple piece compared to the designs we have been discussing here; I built my copy for a son's college apartment at the time. Clearly you are correct that at least the vast majority, if not all of desks in the Usonian homes are built-in, many serving multiple functions. The more I study Wright's designs of furniture I am in awe of the variety from house to house, even within a "style" or time period. I am not sure there are two Usonians with exactly the same desks or tables.

Roderick Grant
Posts: 10615
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:48 am

Re: William Martin Furniture

Post by Roderick Grant »

Built-ins for Usonian houses, as opposed to similarly functioning free-standing units for Prairie houses, undoubtedly came about because of the diminutive size of most of those houses, especially the Jacobs I House and its progeny.

The Hollyhock units had a tortuous evolution, as did so much of the house and its details. The basic design came from FLW, was worked over by RMS, adjusted in its details by the manufacturer and edited by Aline's parsimony (6 light fixtures were deleted from the design). It was not unlike the process FLW used in his relationship with Niedecken, who tended to soften FLW's designs.

SDR
Posts: 20291
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: William Martin Furniture

Post by SDR »

In the Artstor file I found two drawings showing the twin furniture pieces---or one of them, at least:


Image

Image


Other drawings show carpet and glazed sash designs. Two sections drawings of the dining room give a better look at the row of ceiling light fixtures than we have had so far.

S

Post Reply