Writing cabinet, by 1902 , James Herbert McNair

Photograph of the writing cabinet with high-backed chair

Stained oak with glass insets and brass fixings
147.0 x 66.0 x 57.2 (57 15/16 x 26 x 22 ½)
Chair
by 1902
Stained oak, ash and beech, with glass beads on replacement string; re-upholstered to match original
139.2 x 45.7 x 45.7 (54 7/8 x 18 x 18)
Hunterian Art Gallery, University of Glasgow

The desk and chair characterise McNair’s inventiveness with form, ornament and materials. Note, for example, the curvilinear motif at the top of the cabinet or the use of ordinary string in the chair back.

The front of the writing cabinet is adorned with a brass owl – an appropriate motif, as the symbol of wisdom and learning, for a writing cabinet.