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Arts of Europe

The MFAH collections of art created on the European continent encompass artistic styles across the time line of history, from the ancient world to the Middle Ages, and the Early Modern era to the 21st century.

English, 1831 - 1915
Made by Morris & Co.
English, 1861 - 1939
Adjustable Back Chair
c. 1870
Ebonized wood, embossed velvet, and metal

39 x 32 x 27 inches

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Gift of the Arch and Stella Rowan Foundation, Inc.

Arts of Europe

William Morris is probably the best-known figure in 19th-century English design. His influence rests not just on his designs but also on the output of his firm, Morris & Co. The company was a forum for some of the leading progressive artists, architects, and designers of the day.

The designer of this chair, Philip Webb, was trained as an architect but specialized in furniture design. Popular from the moment it was introduced, the chair was both innovative and comfortable. It has become the basis for adjustable armchairs that are still made today. Ironically, although designed by Webb, it is has always been more popularly known as a “Morris chair” because of its association with Morris & Co.