The original signed design drawing by Gimson for this cabinet, dated August 1917, is held in the collection of Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum, Gloucestershire.
The present cabinet, with its use of high quality timbers matched with the finest hand-craftsmanship, exemplifies the aims of the Cotswold School of craftsmen. The Arts and Crafts ideals of truth to materials, honesty of construction and fitness for purpose are fundamental principles of Gimson’s work, together with that of his close associates Ernest and Sidney Barnsley. Produced at his Daneway workshop, this large-scale commission was produced at a time Gimson was beset with difficulties in workshops in operation throughout the First World War. Details regarding its patron and commission remain elusive but its bold styling and presence underline that it was a high-profile work, intended for prominent display. Described by Sir Nikolaus Pevsner as ‘the greatest of the English artist-craftsman’, Gimsons’s high calibre output and fastidious attention to detail, clearly demonstrated on the current piece, provided an inspiration both for contemporaries and successive generations of craftsmen and designers.