Edward Wormley Precedent Collection Desk with Bookcase Front

Buyer Protection Guaranteed

About

Desk is made of silver elm with dark brown espresso finish, built in bookcase on front of desk, designed in 1947 by Edward Wormley as part of the his Precedent Collection for Drexel. Desk chair shown not included, original Wormley chair that came with desk is available for additional cost. Dunbar Era.

Details

  • Date of Manufacture
    1950s
  • Period
    1950-1959
  • Condition
    Excellent. Currently being refinished .
  • Wear
    Wear consistent with age and use
  • Dimensions
    38 in. H x 48 in. W x 24 in. D
    97 cm H x 122 cm W x 61 cm D
  • Seller Location
    St. Louis, MO
  • Number of Items
    1
  • Reference Number
    LU82027210973

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

1stdibs seller since 2006

Typical response time: 1 hour

Located in St. Louis, MO

Associations:
  • 20th Century Specialists

More from this Seller

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Desk and Return
Edward Wormley for Dunbar Desk and Return
Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Wood
1960s Edward Wormley desk and ensuite return, label, currently being refinished, desk. Measures: 72 W x 36.5 D x 29 H. Return 60 W x 30.5 D x 29 H.
Edward Wormley Precedent Collection Cabinet
Edward Wormley Precedent Collection Cabinet
Edward Wormley
Brass, Wood
Edward Wormley two-door cabinet in ebonized silver elm with brass Asian Modern hardware, circa 1948.
Paul McCobb Planner Group Desk
Paul McCobb Planner Group Desk
Paul McCobb
Brass, Birch
Paul McCobb Planner Group desk, bank on drawers on left side with two tapered angular dowel legs on the right, brass pulls. Refinished in dark espresso finish.
Freestanding Pyramidal Bookcase in the Style of Edward Wormley
Freestanding Pyramidal Bookcase in the Style of Ed...
Edward Wormley
Elm
Freestanding bookcase in dark finish on silver elm, z. In the style of Wormley, unmarked, three shelves in ascending widths.
Glenn of California Desk
Glenn of California Desk
Glenn of California
Chrome, Laminate, Wood
Glenn of California ebonized desk with black laminate top and chrome pulls.
T. H. Robsjohn-Gibbings for Widdicomb Desk
T. H. Robsjohn-Gibbings for Widdicomb Desk
T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings
Walnut
Gibbings desk for Widdicomb, walnut with dowel pulls, finished on all sides.
Edward Wormley for Dunbar Rare Janus Cabinet in the Style of Greene & Greene
Edward Wormley for Dunbar Rare Janus Cabinet in th...
Edward Wormley
Brass, Mahogany, Walnut
Edward Wormley for Dunbar Rare Janus cabinet, model 5811 This Janus collection piece is highly influenced by the Greene & Greene designed Arts and Crafts period furniture. Great details...
Monumental Custom Desk in the Style of Paul Frankl
Monumental Custom Desk in the Style of Paul Frankl...
Metal, Wood
Curved custom desk with two banks of three drawers with stylized X pulls, Center drawers on both sides of top, so can be used as a partner's desk. 70" between two pedestals.
Early Edward Wormley for Dunbar Chest of Drawers
Early Edward Wormley for Dunbar Chest of Drawers
Edward Wormley
Brass, Mahogany
Mahogany chest of drawers with brass octagonal ring pulls, designed by Edward Wormley in late 1930s.
Edward Wormley New World Collection Cabinet for Dunbar
Edward Wormley New World Collection Cabinet for Du...
Brass, Mahogany
Edward Wormley cabinet, center drawers with inset handles, shelves on right side of sliding doors and a hang bar on the left side. Bleached mahogany. Sale price $1800.
Edward Wormley for Dunbar Gentleman's Chest
Edward Wormley for Dunbar Gentleman's Chest
Mahogany
Midcentury chest with flip-top mirror, drawers in center, flanked by two cabinet doors, in bleached mahogany, currently being refinished (can change finish color if desired).
George Nelson Midcentury Storage Wall Unit Bookcase and Desk for Omni
George Nelson Midcentury Storage Wall Unit Bookcas...
George Nelson
Aluminum, Walnut
George Nelson designed 1950s wall and desk unit for Omni. Three sections with writing desk and drawers, storage cube, book shelves and lights. Sold with three lights, two of the lights ...