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Dunbar 'Harlow Lounge' Sofa by Edward Wormley


SATURDAY SALE (2/18) A Dunbar upholstered sofa having a suede upholstered back, arms and seat, raised on brass casters. Dunbar printed decking. Paper label from W & J Sloane. The 7150 Harlow Lounge Sofa was designed by Edward Wormley for Dunbar in 1964 and launched together with tufted chesterfield Party Lounge sofa. The 1965 Dunbar catalog shows the original List Price for this Harlow sofa was $4310 +COM! On casters. Image 8 shows a page from the July 1965 Interiors magazine: "Dunbar reintroduced the thirties look with voluminous overstuffed sectional sofa." Presented in original suede upholstery which is in good vintage condition. If required we can reupholster the sofa in 17 yards of your own material. See detail photos of another Harlow Lounge sofa we previously sold which we had recovered in silver velvet. This sofa represents a transition from Wormley's earlier seating designs which were characterized by sleek modern styling and sharper lines. The Harlow illustrates what can be read as a shift in the zeitgeist, an announcement by Wormley of the dawn of a new era. Excerpts from a conversation with an original Dunbar showroom employee: In 1963, Edward introduced sofas that started a new trend towards voluptuous grandeur in upholstered furniture, namely the Harlow and the Party Lounge sofas. Until then, It was all sharp edges, clean-lined and not a hint of softness in what was being offered. Within a few short months, other furniture designers followed suit, and a return to soft, down-filled cushions and curving lines in furniture appeared. The press was caught off guard by this dramatic turnaround in the Dunbar New York showroom. Fortunately, the public was ready for a return to luxuriousness. Less was no longer more. More was more.


  • Date of manufacture
  • Period
  • Condition
  • Wear
    Wear consistent with age and use.
  • Dimensions

    H 26.5 in. x W 94 in. x D 39 in.

    H 67.31 cm x W 238.76 cm x D 99.06 cm

  • Seat height
    16.5 in. (41.91 cm)
  • Seller location
    Hingham, MA
  • Reference number

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About Edward Wormley (Designer)

As the longtime director of design for the Dunbar furniture company, Edward Wormley was, along with such peers as George Nelson at Herman Miller Inc., and Florence Knoll of Knoll Inc., one of the leading forces in bringing modern design into American homes in the mid 20th century. Not an axiomatic modernist, Wormley deeply appreciated traditional design, and consequently his work has an understated warmth and a timeless quality that sets it apart from other furnishings of the era.

     Wormley was born in rural Illinois and as a teenager took correspondence courses from the New York School of Interior Design. He later attended the Art Institute of Chicago but ran out of money for tuition before he could graduate. Marshall Field hired Wormley in 1930 to design a line of reproduction 18th-century English furniture; the following year he was hired by the Indiana-based Dunbar, where he quickly distinguished himself. It was a good match. Dunbar was an unusual firm: it did not use automated production systems; its pieces were mostly hand-constructed. For his part, Wormley did not use metal as a major component of furniture; he liked craft elements such as caned seatbacks, tambour drawers, or the woven-wood cabinet fronts seen on his Model 5666 sideboard of 1956. He designed two lines for Dunbar each year — one traditional, one modern — until 1944, by which time the contemporary pieces had become the clear best sellers.

     Many of Wormley’s signature pieces are modern interpretations of traditional forms. His 1946 Riemerschmid Chair —an example is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art — recapitulates a late 19th-century German design. The long, slender finials of his Model 5580 dining chairs are based on those of Louis XVI chairs; his Listen-to-Me Chaise (1948) has a gentle Rococo curve; the “Precedent” line that Wormley designed for Drexel Furniture in 1947 is a simplified, pared-down take on muscular Georgian furniture. But he could invent new forms, as his Magazine Table of 1953, with its bent wood pockets, and his tiered Magazine Tree (1947), both show. And Wormley kept his eye on design currents, creating a series of tables with tops that incorporate tiles and roundels by the great modern ceramicists Otto and Gertrud Natzler. As the items on these pages demonstrate, Edward Wormley conceived of a subdued sort of modernism, designing furniture that fits into any decorating scheme and does not shout for attention.

About the Seller

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Located in Hingham, MA
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