Wm Morris ~ Washstands


Ford Madox-Brown & Wm Morris & Co. Artisan bedroom washstand painted green Arts & Crafts Movement Reformed Gothic Revival furniture William Morris Arts & Crafts Movement painted bathroom Artisan washstand vanity unit & wall mirror & bath panels

Visually this is the stand out piece in the Artisan bedroom range of furniture. It looks pure Medieval but was a totally new design. It has a striking shape, and would look equally good used as a vanity unit or as a sideboard to display things. This particular piece had a rolling influence on later Arts & Crafts furniture designs, that echoed the splayed shape & overhanging top. When this was first made, c. 1861, a washstand was all anyone had for washing themselves, even the wealthy. No baths were seen in houses for several decades afterwards. Some more versions of the bathroom are shown in the bathroom section.

The washstand gives more of an un-fitted, freestanding furniture look to the bathroom. The original washstand had an inset basin, which you could still have. We've shown the washstand with 3 different types of round sit-on basins for ideas. The worktop is wooden & painted, as the original; but it could be made from marble or granite, Corian, glass, etc. It is made to order, and therefore you can specify the size & finish(es) you want.

Ford Madox-Brown / Wm Morris & Co. Artisan bedroom vanity washstand painted green Arts & Crafts Movement Reformed Gothic Revival furniture Ford Madox-Brown / Wm Morris & Co. Artisan bedroom vanity washstand painted green Arts & Crafts Movement Reformed Gothic Revival furniture
Ford Madox-Brown / Wm Morris & Co. Artisan bedroom vanity washstand painted green Arts & Crafts Movement Reformed Gothic Revival furniture Ford Madox-Brown / Wm Morris & Co. Artisan bedroom vanity washstand painted green Arts & Crafts Movement Reformed Gothic Revival furniture Arts & Crafts Movement hammered copper wash basin

The washstand was intended just for that purpose. In the 1860's you had a jug of cold water & a basin to wash yourself (hence the wider top). You could take this idea & use the washstand as a vanity unit with a plumbed in basin & tap. We've shown a contemporary stainless steel basin on the washstand, which seems to suit it well. Or maybe a striking hammered copper basin ?

Ford Madox-Brown & Wm Morris & Co. Artisan bedroom washstand painted green Arts & Crafts Movement Reformed Gothic Revival furniture Ford Madox-Brown & Wm Morris & Co. Artisan bedroom washstand painted dragon's blood red Arts & Crafts Movement Reformed Gothic Revival furniture
Ford Madox-Brown & Wm Morris & Co. Artisan bedroom washstand painted Morris blue Arts & Crafts Movement Reformed Gothic Revival furniture Ford Madox-Brown & Wm Morris & Co. Artisan bedroom wooden washstand Arts & Crafts Movement Reformed Gothic Revival furniture

Shown LH above, is a design for a double version of the painted washstand, which is very similar to the single version design. This would look great combining the old with the new, by having a round white ceramic basin, echoing the original basins used on this, or a round stainless steel basin. This is big enough to take a couple of basins. Plumb the whole thing in with deck mounted tap, so you have the Morris look with modern convenience.

Just because the original Artisan range was green colour doesn't mean we have to follow that. Morris & Co. furniture came in many finishes. Why not a Morris blue, dramatic black, dragon's blood red, or a wood finish ?

new Arts & Crafts Movement oak 1 door cabinet with splayed legs new Arts & Crafts Movement oak 1 door cabinet with splayed legs & painted door panel
new Arts & Crafts Movement oak 2 door & drawers cabinet with splayed legs new Arts & Crafts Movement oak 3 door & drawers cabinet

Our new Oak Arts & Crafts cabinets & sideboards show the on-going influence the earlier Morris washstand still has. Most people today would recognise their style from Liberty furniture, without realising the original source in the Artisan pieces. It also shows how you can vary the design in many ways. The top 2 pictures show 1 door versionof the cabinet, which is close to the Artisan one; the right hand one also has an Arts & Crafts painted door panel to introduce a new look. Then you have 2 & 3 door versions. These can all be adapted to vanity units quite easily.

WR Lethaby Arts & Crafts movement washstand design furniture

This an interesting example of one designer influencing another. This washstand was designed by the Arts & Crafts designer WR Lethaby, but it is a near copy of an earlier Morris & Co. one. It was produced for Melsetter House, a house designed by Lethaby. We have the measurements for this piece, and could reproduce it if requested.


Morris furniture page