Dressing Table Dressing Table

The Crocker Dressing Table designed by William Burges (1827-1881) and manufactured by Story & Co., 1867. The mahogany wood is painted red, carved, stencilled and gilded, and inset with paintings on glass, bevelled mirrors, marble mosaic inlays of shell and tinsel. Size: height, 61 inches (154.9cm); depth, 27inches (69.9cm.), and width, 38 inches (96.5cm.). the dressing table is fitted with mounts of steel, nickel and tin, also with three small portraits in oils of female members of the Crocker family by Frederick Smallfield.

Joseph Mordaunt Crook writes that this piece must have been one of Burges's special favourites: "he certainly added decoration to it as the years went on" (338). Crook draws particular attention to the "circular mirror surrounded by circular mirrors," pointing out that he had used the same pattern in a sideboard shown at the 1862 Exhibition, and may have been influenced, as Edward Burne-Jones was, by Van Eyck's use of such a mirror (see Madeleine Emerald Thiele's review of Reflections: Van Eyck and the Pre-Raphaelites, at the National Gallery, 2017-18). However, the elaboration of the dressing table with different and sometimes unexpected materials is all Burges's own, and foreshadows the variety of such materials in the New Sculpture of the later nineteenth century. — Jacqueline Banerjee

Links to Related Material

The image on the left came from the Fine Art Society in 2007: the Society has most generously given its permission to use information, images, and text from its catalogues in the Victorian Web. This generosity has led to the creation of hundreds and hundreds of the site's most valuable documents on painting, drawing, sculpture, furniture, textiles, ceramics, glass, metalwork, and the people who created them. The copyright on text and images from their catalogues remains, of course, with the Fine Art Society. The image on the right was kindly provided (via Simon Cooke) by the Higgins Art Gallery and Museum, Bedford, which has a fine grouping of work designed by William Burges. It is reproduced here by kind permission of the trustees of the gallery.


Crook, J. Mordaunt. William Burgess and the High Victorian dream. Revised ed. London: Francis Lincoln, 2013.

Created 8 December 2009

Last modified 2 April 2024