Charles Bevan Biography

Charles Bevan: Emergence of a Gothic Revival Designer

The year 1865 marked the emergence of the acclaimed Gothic Revival designer and manufacturer, Charles Bevan. Known for his multifaceted talents, Bevan is recognized for his pattern drawing, encaustic tiles, gasoliers, stained glass, and brass pole cornices. His pattern drawing was the earliest recorded of his activities, as he was featured in the ‘Building News’ of 1865, presenting an illustration of an inlaid Gothic-style davenport.

Bevan's Training and Artistic Influence

It is suspected that Bevan trained under the renowned Gothic Revivalist J.P. Seddon, an architect and furniture designer. This conjecture is suggested through the confidently similar and sophisticated geometric decoration found in many of Bevan’s works. His style, also considered to have relations to avant-garde architectural qualities, emphasized geometric aspects through exquisite patterning.

Bevan's Work and Legacy

Bevan's skills as a woodcarver and cabinetmaker are documented in catalogues and periodicals of the time and are also displayed in collections at the V&A in London and in various stately homes around Cumbria. He collaborated with several furniture manufacturers, including Gillows, Holland & Sons, J.P. Seddon, and Marsh & Jones of Leeds, later known as Marsh, Jones & Cribb. His work with Marsh & Jones led to an extensive collection of pieces for Sir Titus Salt, a Yorkshire-based mill owner, for his home, preserving much of Bevan's work from the years 1865-72. This collection, which includes an elaborate Medieval-style bedroom suite and a marquetry grand piano, is currently housed in Leeds City Art Galleries, Temple Newsam House.

Bevan's Notable Commissions and Career Advancement

In 1867, at the Paris Exposition, Bevan presented a commission for James Lamb of Manchester, featuring a bookcase, alongside his design companion Bruce Talbert. He became a familiar name in the London International Exhibitions, appearing three consecutive years from 1871-73. During this period of career progression, his son George Alfred joined the firm, leading to the formation of ‘C Bevan & Son Designers, Woodcarvers and Manufacturers of Art Furniture’.

Charles Bevan's contributions to the Gothic Revival movement and his collaborative works have left a lasting impact in the realm of design and craftsmanship.

Researched and written by Tony Geering.

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