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ERNEST GIMSON - 1864-1919
The Greatest of the English Artist-Craftsmen





When Gimson started designing metalwork in about 1900 he saw some hinges that Alfred Bucknell, son of William the village blacksmith at Tunley, had made for Alfred Powell. (Architect and painter of Wedgwood pottery.) Gimson gave Alfred some work and then set up a forge in Sapperton in the wheelwright's yard, on the site of the present village hall. (Designed by Ernest Barnsley.) By 1910 Gimson was employing several blacksmiths and they were producing not only handles and fittings for his furniture, but exquisitely designed candlesticks, sconces and lanterns, with the finest punched and chased details. Occasionally Gimson collaborated with other architects in the design of metalwares, such as Robert Weir Shultz and George Bankart. Silver fittings were sometimes made in John Paul Coopers workshop.

When Gimson died in 1919, Alfred Bucknell set up a smithy in the village of Waterlane. In 1930 his son Norman joined him there, having previously been apprenticed to Peter Waals (formerly Gimson's head cabinet maker) and continued the tradition, making cabinet fittings for Waals. He also made sconces and architectural fittings designed by Norman Jewson (architect & former pupil of Gimson) as well as continuing to make designs by Gimson. Around 1957 after his fathers death Norman moved to Lypiatt, and then onto Bisley where he retired in 1994. He died at the age of 95 in March 2006.

Eight years ago I started to follow in this tradition, rediscovering the techniques and studying in great detail examples of the Bucknell's work and using the original drawings. I now find I am also adapting and designing, discovering and delighting in new possibilities...


Alfred Bucknell, Gimson's metalworker.

Alfred and his son Norman Bucknell, working together
at Waterlane Smithy c1930.

Gimson's own dog Collar, finely chased, punched and engraved brass, with leather lining.

Polished Steel Fire Irons.

Ernest Gimson Metalwork at the Daneway Showrooms.
courtesy Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum.

Fire dog in polished steel designed by Gimson c1908.
Photo courtesy Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum.

Polished brass Candle Sconce.

Oak and acorn Candle Sconce c1910.

Polished steel Candlestand c1903.

Sheradised steel Candlestick c1910.

Polished steel Candlestick.

Candelabra in polished steel.

Polished brass Chamberstick with punched decoration.

Copper Candle Lantern with mica glazing panels, 1917.

Design for a Weathercock.

Polished steel Altar Cross.

Polished brass furniture handles.

ERNEST GIMSON - The Inspiration of England (W.R.Lethaby)