Inspired by the agricultural tools of rural England, this massive oak table is awash in hand-worked details.
By Don Weber
From the February 2009 issue #174
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As a young fellow growing up in the countryside of Wales, I clambered over many a farm wagon, climbed into many a loft in barns that were jointed and pegged, and tripped over many a hay rake on my adventures.
I have always appreciated the simple, utilitarian, yet pleasing design of the vernacular woodworking of the countryside. My inspiration for furniture forms has always been the work of the wheelwright and coach maker. And the inspiration for how to build things came in part from Sidney Barnsley and Ernest Gimson.
Barnsley and Gimson were men of the Cotswolds school of craft architects. They were part of a group of London architects who moved to the countryside in the 19th century and set up what is known today as the English Arts & Crafts movement (along with William Morris at Kelmscott Manor).
These free thinkers broke away from convention and began to design not only the buildings, but the furnishings as well. And they turned to the rural countryside for their inspiration.
The hay rake table built for Rodmarton Manor was an example of how Gimson and Barnsley adopted details from farm wagons, carts and farming implements that were still in use in the Cotswolds.