The Sussex Armchair was most likely designed by Philip Webb for William Morris’s own house, the Red House, around 1860.
It was based on an English country chair from the Regency period, found in Sussex – hence the name.
The chairs were produced by Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co., and later by Morris & Co., in various styles in black, brown and (very rarely) red. They sold in large numbers in the late 19th Century and early 20th Century, were widely copied and sold through well known furniture retailers such as Liberty’s and Heals.
They became an icon of artistic style and were to be found in the studios of Pre-Raphaelite artist Edward Burne-Jones, and Alfred Gilbert, the sculptor of Eros at London’s Piccadilly Circus.