Last week we picked up our latest edition to our Ercol family…a gorgoeus 1960’s elm framed day bed with it’s original cushions. It is simply beautiful with it’s elegant bentwood curved arms and it’s practical design. The back is a piece of solid elm with stunning grain to the wood. The cushions are a deep green colour with gold metal zippers. The base cushion is 1 piece with 3 smaller one at the back. It sits on 4 short stick legs that splay out an angle.
It is a 3 seater…perfect for unplanned (tall) visitors to crash out!
I love this furniture…it is lighter than our G plan teak we have in other rooms, both in colour and feel. I love the way it is based on classic 18th century designs but given a contempary twist with a 1950s styling.
The Ercol brand was established in 1920 by Lucian Ercolani. He was Italian whose family arrived in England in the late 1890s. The company was based in High Wycombe where interestingly, other 20th century furniture greats such as G plan also came from.
In 1944, Ercol were asked to make a huge commission: 100,000 low cost chairs of any design. Lucian had always loved the Windsor chair; admiring it’s simplicity and interestingly had also derived from High Wycombe centuries before. He was concerned about the size of the order for chairs with a bentwood frame so worked hard to master the craft of steam bending. He selected the unusual choice of English elm which wasn’t popular due to it’s problems when it was bent…usually warping under the heat.
The end result was shown at the 1946 “Britain Can Make It” exhibition at the V&A. This was an event to showcase the best of industrial and furniture design, set up by the Design Council.
After the war, they wanted to show the world that industry was important, that England was a design force to be reckoned with and Lucian couldn’t wait to show off his modern Windsor elm chair.
This was a success with the chair and other pieces going on sale the following year. Really, this was the first mass produced furniture….it’s clean lines were modern, the elm was light yet practical especially compared with the pre war clunky shapes and colours.
In 1951, they showcased new designs at the Festival of Britain. Further iconic pieces of furniture were introduced throughout the 1950s and 1960s such as the nest of pebble tables (1956), the butterfly chair (1958) and my lovely day bed!!
Ercol is still going strong today, run by Lucian’s grandson. Earlier this year they re-issued their signature pieces which were bought up in record time.
So, back to our day bed…it will fit perfectly in our new home alongside our dining table, 4 Quaker chairs and sideboard.
The sideboard has gorgoeus oval handles that sit within an oval hole. The drawers pull out to reveal a cutlery drawer..this is definately not flat pack!
The quality is amazing…the chairs are stamped 1960 on the base…they are 50 years old and still going strong with their original seat pads.
The table is a later model..chosen as it extends so much. It has 3 concealed leaves making the table when fully extended an amazing 3.5 metres. The grain in the wood is stunning…and I love and appreciate the fact that it is an original which clearly has influenced furniture today.
We are on the look out for the pebble tables and 2 Quaker carvers to sit at the end of the table to add to our Ercol-lection!!!
If you love the Ercol why not join the “Friends of Ercol” Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/group.php?gid=66216888318