Mason, Augustus Henry
London; cabinet maker (fl.1889-1906)
Directories listed Mason at Greek Street, Soho (1889); Denmark Place, Charing Cross Road (1890); and Holland, Place, Church Street, Kensington (1894).
An altar table design by Prior, made by Mason and decorated by Lethaby, for Trinity Church, Bothenhampton, Devon, was exhibited at the 1889 Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society. The Arts & Crafts Exhibition Society show 1890 included a writing table designed by Ernest Gimson, made by Mason and C. Smith with marquetry by J. Beaner, which was noted in The British Architect, 10 October 1890, among ‘the strikingly good things in the way of furniture’ at this exhibition.
Mason was appointed foreman of the workshops of Kenton & Co. (1891-2). He designed and made a wall mirror of Cuban mahogany, with inlaid holly and ebony herringbone stringing for the firm (illus. Comino (1980), p. 65). The stringing feature was later used by Ernest Gimson and Sidney Barnsley, particularly in the backs of chairs and plate racks. An inlaid sideboard, designed by Reginald Blomfield and made by Mason, was exhibited in the 1893 Arts and Crafts Society Exhibition.
Mason continued to make furniture for the designer/architect, W. A. Lethaby until at least 1906, although his name disappeared from Kensington Directories after 1894. Indeed he was the maker of some of the furniture designed by Lethaby for Melsetter House, Orkney. A bookcase and table still in the house are stamped ‘FROM AUGUSTUS H. MASON’.
Sources: Symonds and Whineray, Victorian Furniture (1962); Comino, Gimson and the Barnsleys ‘Wonderful furniture of a commonplace kind’ (1980);Collard, ‘Kenton & Co’, The Decorative Arts Society 1850 to the Present (1996); Carruthers, ‘William Craigie of Kirkwall and the Furnishing of Melsetter House, Hoy’, Regional Furniture (2002); Carruthers, Greensted, Roscoe, Ernest Gimson. Arts & Crafts Designer and Architect (2019).