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Aesthetic Movement Antique Brass Magazine Rack By William Tonks & Son, Signed

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  • £490.00
  • €557 Euro
  • $602 US Dollar

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Item Description

Aesthetic Movement Antique brass & wood magazine rack by William Tonks & Son, 1890`s ca, English.
This antique magazine rack has been gently cleaned while respecting the aged patina. 
This magazine rack was made by William Tonks & Son in the Aesthetic Movement style which flourished in Britain between 1860-1900. The sophisticated design was intended to bring beauty to everyday objects, escaping the ugliness & materialism of the Industrial Age. It has the manufacturer`s signature stamp underneath the wooden base: "WT&S" plus the sunshine symbol.
The contrast between the black & gold surfaces, tubular & square shapes, traditional & geometric motifs, make this magazine rack a good example of The Aesthetic Movement style. Aesthetic artists drew inspiration from various cultures & periods, in this example from ancient Greek Art, with the decorative sunflower pattern on the brass. The sunflower symbolizes lasting happiness and adoration, key principles of Aestheticism. The true faith and loyalty to something that is much bigger and brighter than themselves. It relates to self-respect, which means being authentic and embracing your own individuality. This rich eclecticism is one of the Aesthetic Movement`s most intriguing characteristics making this rack fitting for Interiors today.
The slender classical form & elegant proportions make this piece well sized for any room.  Would look good on a desk or on the floor.  They would suit a range of interiors such as Antique, Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Hollywood Regency or Contemporary.
The design consists of a rectangular solid English oak base from which emerge two decorative brass panels with a central brass arched tubular handle. The chamfered stepped  wooden rectangular base has round corners. The original gloss black lacquer is present, together with the four original antique gilt bronze decorative ball feet. The feet add weight & stability to the piece. The manufacturer`s signature is stamped underneath:  "WT&S" plus the sunshine symbol.
The topside of the base has two portions of solid brass flat banding from which emerge the two side panels & the brass tubular handle. Brass decorative washers are present in the joints. The external side of the brass panels are profusely decorated with sunflowers within a geometric design with great attention to detail & symmetry. The internal sides are painted, having the original antique finish in a terracotta tone.
This antique magazine rack is in good condition for its age. The antique patina has been preserved. The brass frame is sound with no missing parts. The metal surfaces overall are in very good condition with a warm age patina  adding character & depth,  and only minor superficial marks. The wooden base is in good condition with superficial marks and some rubbing to the paint in line with age & wear. 
Packing is offered free of charge. We take special professional care while packing. For safe transport the magazine rack would be wrapped in bubble wrap, foam and an outer layer of card. It would then easily fit into a box with loose fill packing nuts, safe for posting with a courier. We ship with reliable couriers (signed for, tracked & insured).
Within London UK: Free
UK Mainland: £ Free
European Union: £ 60
United States/Canada: £ 80
Japan: £ 100
Australia: £ 125
Rest of the World please enquire.
The foundry William Tonks & Sons was founded in 1794. One of the largest and most prolific metalware making companies in Birmingham, Great Britain, during the 19th Century. As early as 1852, they supplied quality metal art work, such as candle stick holders, magazine racks & stands to Liberty`s London in the Arts & Crafts & Aesthetic Movement styles much in vogue then. They won gold medals at the exhibitions of 1851 and 1862 in London and in 1855 in Paris.
First patented pieces can be found in catalogues around 1864. Tonks also made a vast quantity of different items that other manufacturers could use in their designs, as well as items for use in a more architectural context such as door knockers & plates and window latches.  
Items made by Tonks will carry the WT & S mark stamped to the back alongside the sun motif. 
The Company, employing over 500 people, survived well into the 20th Century. In 1970 they merged with Newman Brothers, later acquired by Ingersoll-Rand.


The Aesthetic Movement in Britain covered the period of 1860 to 1900. Artists designed to escape the Industrial Revolution Age, by concentrating instead on producing art that was beautiful rather than having a deeper meaning: 'Art for Art`s sake'. These new bohemian Aesthetic artists included Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Morris, Edward Burne-Jones, Christopher Dresser & Frederic Leighton.

The Aesthetic Movement initiated extensive artistic & design changes. Its eclecticism, modern concepts of middle-class lifestyle and domestic environment prepared the way for the art movements of the 20th century, resonating even into our own time.

Item Info



Seller Location

London, London

Item Dimensions

H: 33cm W: 28cm D: 15cm


1890's ca, England

Item Location

United Kingdom

Seller Location

London, London

Item Location

United Kingdom

Seller Contact No

+44 (0)795 6645492