Gordon Russell (designer)

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A dressing table designed by the Utility Design Panel c. 1943. Made by Heal & Son, 1947. Oak.

Sir (Sydney) Gordon Russell, CBE, MC, RDI, (20 May 1892 – 7 October 1980) was an English designer, craftsman and educationist.


He came under the influence of the Arts and Crafts movement from 1904 after his father had moved to Broadway in the Cotswolds to be hotelier at the Lygon Arms, through the Guild of Handicraft, the community of metalworkers, enamellers, wood carvers, furniture makers, and printers brought in 1902 by C. R. Ashbee from east London to Chipping Campden.

Following service as an officer in World War I, for which he was awarded the Military Cross in 1918,[1][2] he became a furniture maker and designer. In 1925 Russell won a Gold Medal at the Paris Exhibition with a cabinet, with internal drawers lined with boxwood, ebony and laburnum, and valued in 2013 at £50,000 - £60,000.[3]

During World War II he was instrumental in developing utility furniture as Chairman of the government's Utility Furniture Design Panel. In 1943 he became Chairman of the Utility Design Panel.[4]In 1947 Gordon Russell became director of the Council of Industrial Design (COID) (later renamed the Design Council. He became the first chairman of the Crafts Council.

Notable designs by Russell include chairs for the re-built Coventry Cathedral. His brother Richard Drew Russell was also a designer.

He was awarded a knighthood in 1955 for services to design.

Portrait bust of Sir Gordon Russell[edit]

Gordon Russell sat for sculptor Alan Thornhill for a portrait[5] in clay. The correspondence file relating to the Russell portrait bust is held in the archive[6] of the Henry Moore Foundation's Henry Moore Institute in Leeds and the terracotta remains in the collection of the artist. A Bronze is in the collection of the Gordon Russell Museum[7] in Broadway, Worcestershire.

References and sources[edit]

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Sir Gordon Russell at the ODNB
  3. ^ "Cheltenham Town Hall 2". Antiques Roadshow. Series 35. Episode 19. 14 April 2013. BBC Television. Retrieved 16 April 2013. 
  4. ^ Woodham, Jonathan M. (1997) Twentieth-Century Design. Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 118. ISBN 9780192842046
  5. ^ portrait head of Sir Gordon Russell image of sculpture
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 12 January 2009. Retrieved 10 August 2009.  HMI Archive
  7. ^ Gordon Russell Museum

External links[edit]