The Thakeham Seat: A Little Piece of Lutyens

Fiona Rose

Except, the "Lutyens Bench" is actually the Thakeham Seat, designed for the garden at Little Thakeham, near Storrington, West Sussex. Lutyens described the house he built at Little Thakeham as, "the best of the bunch". The magnificent property was designed in 1902 for Ernest Blackburn, a successful wine importer and a passionate gardener. Candia Lutyens, the grandaughter of Edwin, says, "The rhythmical symmetry of the bench is typical of Lutyens love of form. The bench has become an archetypal design in it's own right and though it is the piece of furniture with which most associated with, it has sadly, for many, at the same time lost its association with Lutyens. It has been made all over the world to varying degrees of quality (absence there of)".

Today, when most of us think of Lutyens, we see the grand, commissioned country homes he built: the fact he was also a designer of furniture is not well known. Candia Lutyens continues, "his designs, though numerous, were always produced in small quantities and for a specific effect that was always a complement to the whole. Sadly almost no Lutyens interiors survive intact and many pieces of furniture have been lost. Thus it is that Lutyens furniture has never become part of the general consciousness, although on the merits of the design alone it should rank with, and take its natural place along side the furniture of all The Twentieth Century Greats".

I, for one, feel very fortunate to own a little piece of Lutyens fine design and I greatly enjoy sitting on it in my garden and contemplating the beauty of nature and the value of good design...

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