WinfieldR.W.

Biography

R. W. Winfield was a patentee and manufacturer of plain and ornamental cased and patent tubes founded in 1829 and based at Cambridge Street Works in Birmingham, with an office on Fleet Street, London. His company made everyday objects but also specialised in armchairs and metallic bedsteads. One of his metallic military bedsteads, a brass one in the French Renaissance style, was made for the Great Exhibition in 1851 and printed in the official catalogue. The bed was deigned ‘one of the best objects of its kind ever brought before our notice’ by The Art-Journal: Crystal Palace Exhibition.R. W. Winfield & Sons’ bedsteads were available in brass, bronze ormolu and imitation of silver. The firm claimed that their ‘portable’ bedsteads were ideal for use at home or abroad, they could adapt the bedsteads for use in a camp or for travelling, ideal for Officers in the Army and the Navy.R. W. Winfield & Sons won various awards for their metal furniture. They won the Council Award for a brass, dismantling armchair in recognition of ingenuity and innovation at the Great Exhibition in 1851. In 1862, A Medal for Excellence of Workmanship in Bedsteads and Ornamental Tubing was awarded to R. W. Winfield & Sons at the International Exhibition. Then, in 1878 the firm received one bronze medal and three gold medals at the Paris Exhibition.Birmingham brass was in high demand in Britain and worldwide during the 19th century. This demand translated itself into commissions for important clients, such as a royal mid-Victorian brass canopy bed, made for Vittorio Emanuele II, King of Italy (1820-1878) in c.1870. This bed, stamped with maker's label “R. W. Winfield. Patent.”, sold at Christie’s in 2007 and shows many similarities to our bed. For example, the shape of the top and the central bosses on each stem, as well as the pressed brass decoration to the head and foot all correlate with our bed.

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