Percy Macquoid

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Percy Macquoid (1852–1925) was a theatrical designer and a collector and connoisseur of English furniture, and the author of articles, largely for Country Life, and of four books on the history of English furniture, the first major survey of the subject, which have been reprinted and are still of use today: The Age of Oak, The Age of Walnut, The Age of Mahogany and The Age of Satinwood, ending his surveys about the year 1800. These terms, particularly the first three, have become the standard terms for referring to these different periods and styles. Despite this respect for his observations and commentary, his historical research has often been queried.[1] He collaborated with Ralph Edwards on The Dictionary of English Furniture (three volumes, 1924–1927). Macquoid's books were published by Country Life.

The son of the writer, Katharine Sarah Macquoid, and the book illustrator and watercolourist, Thomas Robert Macquoid (1820–1912), his early career was as an illustrator[note 1] and theatrical designer,[2] whose illustrations in The Graphic Vincent van Gogh praised to Anthon van Rappard in 1883 as "the non plus ultra of elegance and mild refined feeling".[3] Macquoid was a favoured designer of the theatrical producer Herbert Beerbohm Tree, notably for Tree's 1906 productions of Shakespeare's Anthony and Cleopatra and Nero.[4] In 1899 Macquoid produced decorations for the renovated St. James's Theatre, King Street, (demolished 1957-58) which were carried out by the leading London decorators Messrs. Morant and Co.[5] For the great collector Lord Leverhulme, Macquoid designed the 'Adam Room' for the Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight, Liverpool. The work was carried out by the London decorating firm of White, Allom and installed the year of Macquoid's death. For it, Macquoid adapted principal elements from two documented Robert Adam houses: the plasterwork and colour of the walls derived from the Music Room at Harewood House, West Yorkshire, while the mirror above the fireplace is based on one at 20 St. James Square, London.[6]

Following his marriage in 1891 to Theresa I. Dent, the couple built The Yellow House, Bayswater, London, to designs by Ernest George and Harold Peto. Summer and autumn he and his wife Theresa spent at Hoove Lea, overlooking the sea at Hove. In both houses there was Macquoid's collection of seventeenth-century and eighteenth-century English furniture, cared for by "a devoted and efficient staff" (Edwards 1974). Much of the furnishings collected by Macquoid — furniture, silver, paintings, porcelain and more — now form the Macquoid Bequest, furnishing a room at Preston Manor, in Brighton, East Sussex. Theresa was on the committee of Brighton Museum and was very fond of Preston Manor, one of the other museums cared for by the local authority.

In the May 1974 issue of Apollo, Ralph Edwards recalled his collaboration with Percy Macquoid on The Dictionary of English Furniture.[7]


  • Macquoid, Percy (1904). The Age of Oak. Country Life. 
  • —— (1905). The Age of Walnut. Country Life. 
  • —— (1907). The Age of Mahogany. Lawrence & Bullen. 
  • —— (1908). The Age of Satinwood. Lawrence & Bullen. 
  • —— (1919). A History of English Furniture. Collins. 
  • —— (1908). The Plate Collector's Guide. John Murray. 
  • —— (1923). Four Hundred Years of Children's Costume from the Great Masters 1400–1800. Medici Society. 
  • Macquoid, Percy; Edwards, Ralph (1925–1927). Dictionary of English Furniture. Country Life. 


  1. ^ He collaborated with Edwin Austin Abbey and Joseph Nash on illustrations for Charles Reade's collections of stories, Good Stories and In Belgravia (London: Chatto & Windus) both published in 1884, for example.


  1. ^ Chinnery, Victor (1979). Oak Furniture: The British Tradition. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Antique Collector's Club. p. 87,223,241. ISBN 0-902028-61-8. 
  2. ^ Some of his costume designs for B.J. Simmons & Co. are at the University of Texas at Austin.
  3. ^ Letter, January 1883.
  4. ^ Macquoid contributed an essay to the booklet commemorating the fiftieth performance, 9 March 1906.
  5. ^ 'King Street', Survey of London: volumes 29 and 30: St James Westminster, Part 1 (1960), pp. 295-307. Date accessed: 30 March 2007.
  6. ^ "The 'Adam Room'"
  7. ^ "From the Apollo archives"

External links[edit]