A lovely rarely seen design from 1969 by Philip Hussey for White and Newton of Portsmouth

A lovely rarely seen design from 1969 by Philip Hussey for White and Newton of Portsmouth

Philip Hussey is one of the unsung heroes of British furniture design who deserves to be far better known ! As a young man of 24 he was appointed to replace Arthur Edwards as head designer of White and Newton in 1964 . They were then a successful medium sized maker of contemporary furniture which was a little conservative in style . In the late 1960s he pushed some boundaries particularly in some of his sideboard designs which moved White and Newton into a much more modern stylish minimalist direction . Some of these designs were very popular and come up for sale quite frequently , others were too ahead of their time and are unfortunately rarely seen today . When they do appear they’re now being recognised as design classics .

Unlike G Plan and McIntosh , 2 of White and Newton’s larger competitors who invested a lot in annual catalogues which now turn up for sale from time to time . White and Newton catalogues are much rarer , although we do have an early 1960s one and another from around 1970 in our collection . The 1970 one does acknowledge Philip Hussey as the designer , but so little seen are the original catalogues that his name rarely appears online unlike Victor Wilkins from G Plan , Tom Robertson from McIntosh and John Herbert from the similarly sized A Younger , who similarly rarely produced catalogues !

The Arundel in teak or more expensively in yew veneers is featured on the front of the 1970 catalogue we have , but rarely ever comes up for sale today so unlike models such as the Petersfield it wasn’t a great commercial success . Earlier in the year we managed to source a teak Arundel sideboard base which looked to have originally had a top section , even though these were sold as optional extras . It was not in the best condition when we found it so it’s been stripped and re-finished .

The full yew veneered Arundel we bought described as being ” rosewood ” , which can have an equally dynamic figure to the veneers as yew , but is a darker colour . It was in really good vintage condition with only minor marks and scratches , so we haven’t gone to the time taking expense of stripping the original finish and then re-polishing .

Yew is an indigenous wood that was used sparingly in the making of the best British Windsor chairs in the 18th and 19th century , and occasionally as a veneer in marquetry . The only other time we’ve seen it used on Mid-Century furniture is in the 1970s by Pieff who offered it as an alternative to rosewood and used it with chrome . In the late 1970s and 1980s yew veneers became popular in the making of Regency style Reproduction furniture , so at the time these expensive veneers were readily available at a price . Certainly it was a lot more expensive than teak or mahogany , and probably on a similar level to the best rosewood veneers .