Cambridge Armchair (1935)

The Cambridge Armchair was designed byBetty Joel, in 1935. With its curvilinear shapes and straightforward design, it’s the perfect example of the British modern aesthetics during the Art Decò Period.

“Cambridge” Armchair by Betty Joel c.1935. Dowelled joints with leather upholstery.

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Clean Lines for a Functional Chair

TheCambridge Armchairwas part of a suite of furniture designed in1935for the consulting rooms of Harley Street eye surgeonF. A. Williamson-Noble.The set also included adesk, awastepaper bin, and aletter tray, all made in the sameQueensland silky oak.影响材料和丰富线条简洁of French Art Deco furniture, as well as thefunctionalismand craftsmanship of theArts and Crafts movement, Joel sought to create a piece that was beautiful, practical and finely crafted.

Betty Joel portrait in black and white.
Betty Joel

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Furniture designed by Joel.

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The Modern Aesthetic of Curvilinear Design

Beginning her design journey by producing pieces for her own house,Betty Joelsoon realized that her furniture was highly demanded and resolved to set up a small factory at Hayling Island,London

Dressing table designed by Betty Joel in 1931.
Dressing table designed by Betty Joel in 1931

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Initially, much of the furniture was made inteakoroak.This was known as“Token” furniture,工厂Hayling岛了same name. The popularity of Joel’s design was such that by1929the factory moved to bigger premises at Portsmouth. During these times, Joel developed her own unique style:functionalismand the use ofclean,curvilinear lineswere the fundamentals of her designs and are clearly shown in pieces of furniture the like of theCambridge Armchairand theRevolving Bed

The Cambridge Armchair with the desk designed for the eye surgeon F. A. Williamson-Noble.
The Cambridge Armchair with the desk designed for the eye surgeon F. A. Williamson-Noble.

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Table made by Betty Joel
Table made by Betty Joel

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Materials and Structure of the Cambridge Armchair

The Cambridge armchair is made of an Australian walnut frame, dowelled joints, and leather upholstery. Thecurvilinear shapeand the use ofexotic wood veneers, such as theQueensland silky oak, wastypicalof Joel’s styleat the time.

Thewooden armrestsof the chair are an extension of the legs and compose the main structure of the piece. The backrest, a frame also in Australian wood, was originally designed without any cushion, but a new version was later produced which had it covered in leather. Finally, another version without armrests was designed and is currently available for purchase.

“Cambridge” dining chairs, designed by Betty Joel for Betty Joel Ltd (Knightsbridge) c.1935

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Data Sheet

  • Designer: Betty Joel;
  • Year of design: 1935;
  • Provenience: United Kingdom;
  • Materials: leather, wood (Australian walnut and Queensland silky oak);
  • Dimensions: 91.5 x 54,5 x 45 cm.

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