19 JUNE 1926, Page 13

IT is not from our vanities but from our needs

that the best functional art has arisen. When our furniture becomes a mere expression of our wealth and snobbishness, and becomes overladen with unnecessary baubles and intricacies, its aesthetic worth decreases in ratio to the increase of energy, time, money and patience wasted upon its production.

A chair evolved from our habit formations is usually much to be preferred to one that is the fantastic emanation of the brain of some artist who, from some remote pinnacle, designs an apparition which is so precious that, when materialized, it becomes an ornament rather than a seat, a thing of use not to men, but moths and wood-lice. , The furniture of Mr. Dugald Stark has all the qualities of good design and it is practical, finely proportioned and economical in its lines. It is not over-embellished with mean- ingless decoration. What decoration there is has been obtained by the tasteful application of veneers of woods grown in the British Empire. It may be a personal prejudice, but I must confess that veneers seldom satisfy me. I find myself admiring a solidly constructed and economically designed piece of furniture when, suddenly, my eye travelling along the surface texture, I am a trifle shocked to find that the beauty of the wood I see is not only skin deep, but gives me the impression that it is so. When I open a drawer made of beautiful mahogany to find• that it is completely disguised as walnut on the surface, I feel that an attempt has been made to defraud me : and I rebel. I am not quite so upset when some of the original wood is showing. Setting aside this personal prejudice, I must say that this furniture is amongst the best that has been produced in this century.