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Rare Arts and Crafts Oak Wardrobe by Wylie and Lochhead

A rare Arts and Crafts large oak wardrobe with stylised iron hinges and latch style handles to the doors which open to reveal twin hanging space, with two deep drawers below.

Makers: Wylie & Lochhead

England Circa 1900

Wylie & Lochhead was a household name in 19th-century Glasgow and beyond, for furnishings of artistic design and high quality craftsmanship. Robert Wylie, a hair and feather merchant and upholsterer, and William Lochhead, who worked in his father's post-hiring, undertaking and cabinetmaking business, were related by marriage, and in 1829 they formed a partnership, opening premises at 164 Trongate in the East End of Glasgow. 1 Their early success was established when they dealt efficiently with corpses during the 1832 cholera epidemic, undertaking being an activity traditionally associated with cabinetmakers. In 1837 they pioneered the introduction of horse-drawn omnibus services to the city from outlying suburbs and towns. By the1850s, they had started manufacturing their own wallpapers and in 1862 opened their own paper-staining factory in Whiteinch. By the 1870s, they were the first of the Glasgow furnishers to specialise in ship and yacht interiors.

In 1883 the firm became a private limited company. By this time its business was extensive, with a wide range of departments including undertaking, cabinetmaking, furnishing, upholstering, paperhangings and paperstaining. It had showrooms throughout Glasgow, and branches in London and Manchester. By the 1890s its cabinetmaking business was the largest in Scotland, producing both avant-garde and traditional designs. The firm commissioned well known English and Continental designers and manufacturers such as Liberty's, but also developed Scottish talent by keeping in touch with stylistic developments at the Glasgow School of Art and enlisting graduates such as Jessie M. King, who designed wallpapers and possibly furniture for them.

At the Glasgow International Exhibition of 1901, the firm exhibited work that toned down the more extreme innovations of designers such as Mackintosh, Herbert McNair, and Margaret and Frances Macdonald – the Four – for a middle-class clientele. Its four rooms were each entrusted to a single designer – the dining room to John Ednie, the library and bedroom to George Logan, and the drawing room to EA Taylor. Some critics found it 'unquestionably the most important furnishing display' of the exhibition; others thought the costliness vulgar, and 'not suggestive of the greatest comfort'. 2 Elsehwere in the exhibition the firm fitted out the Royal Reception Rooms in a more conservative revivalist style. A few months after the exhibition's launch, the firm was granted a Royal warrant as cabinetmakers and upholsterers to King Edward VII. 3

In the changed economic climate after the First World War, Wylie & Lochead introduced cheaper lines, and during the Second World War they produced utility furniture. The department store chain House of Fraser acquired Wylie & Lochhead in 1957, though the firm continued to trade under its own name. In 1966, the store in Buchanan Street was linked with an adjacent House of Fraser store, McDonalds, together trading as McDonalds, Wylie & Lochhead. In 1975, the neighbouring stores of Fraser Sons & Co. and McDonalds, Wylie & Lochhead merged into a single department store, Frasers, in Buchanan Street. The funeral side of the business continues as Wylie & Lochhead (Funerals) Ltd.

Reference number



Height: 188cm (74.0 inches)
Width: 153cm (60.2 inches)
Depth: 52cm (20.5 inches)

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