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Two Gerald Summers White Stained Book Units


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Design, Ethnographic & Ancient Art

Two Gerald Summers White Stained Book Units

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Two Gerald Summers White Stained Book Units



Designed 1933 by Gerald Summers (1899-1967)

Made by 'Makers of Simple Furniture' (1931-1940)

Registered design number 796529

Birch Ply with a white cellulose polish

Width 110.5 cm Depth 23 cm Height 51 cm (39.5 x 9 x 20 in)

Images include the Makers of Simple Furniture 1930's promotion sheet together with groups of four book units to illustrate some of the possibilities of this design.

In 1934 Summers achieved a "Mondrian" like perfection with his design for these L-shaped book shelves. They can be placed in a huge variety of combinations and with their asymmetric internal dimensions and exciting external silhouette they are quite unlike any other modular design before or since; yet as always they conform to Summers' interdependence of form and function.

The most innovative designer in Britain in the 1930’s Gerald Summers' significance is only now being appreciated as emphasis has heretofore been placed upon the achievements of European and Scandinavian designers and because "Makers of Simple Furniture" was a small company, producing mainly to order, without the publicity machine of larger workshops.

Originally offered through Heals, Harrods and select department stores in the US, examples of Summers' designs are now held by the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Vitra Design Museum in Germany.


U.K. Private Collection

Museums & Exhibitions:

MOMA - current exhibition:

Victoria & Albert Museum: The Bent Plywood Armchair is on display in the new 20th Century Furniture Galleries which opened December 2012

The Geffrye Museum, London have two book units in their collections.

Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2014 Exhibition: The Magic of Plywood

Metropolitan Museum, New York

Vitra Design Museum

Thirties British Art and Design before the War organized by the Arts Council of Great Britain, London 1979

"Constructivism in Art & Design" Crafts Council Gallery, London 1988


A History of British Design 1839-1970 Fiona McCarthy pub.1 972

The Design History Journal 1992 Vol.5 No.3 - precis of Masters' thesis by Martha Deese, Metropolitan Museum New York

Gerald Summers: Furniture For the Concrete Age Dunn and Mantz pub.2012

1000 Chairs Charlotte and Peter Fiell, Cologne 2000 p.232

Design for Today 1934

100 Masterpieces Vitra Design Museum

Furnishing the small Home published London and New York 1930's by the Studio Ltd.

Bent Wood and Metal Furniture 1850-1946 University of Washington Press edited by Derek E. Ostergard


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