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Antique Copper & Brass Étagère

Antique Copper & Brass Étagère

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As if plucked from the bustling kitchen at Downton Abbey, this magnificent Copper and Brass Étagère with Spirit Burners is an elegant memento of both cooking and serving in the stately homes of 19th-century England.

This exceptional piece was hand-crafted in the renowned London workshop of W.A.S. (William Arthur Smith) Benson and is captivating in its every detail. As Mr. Benson was influenced by the great English designer William Morris, this elegant tiered étagère has the streamlined minimalist aesthetic of the Arts and Crafts movement, along with an elegant nod to Art Nouveau.

Comprised of two graduated copper tiers joined by elegantly curved brass supports, the piece includes the original pair of removable spirit burners that could be used on the lower tier to warm food being presented on the upper tier. The entire piece is standing confidently on six ebony wood bun feet. Bearing W.A.S. Benson's hallmarks, this gleaming étagère is a masterfully crafted piece with all the beauty and simplicity of the Arts and Crafts movement.

Whether used with the spirit burners to keep food warm on a buffet, or without the burners as a magnificent étagère to elevate, display and showcase, it is sure to take pride of place in your home.


Strictly one-of-a-kind and subject to prior sale. In very good antique condition with only minimal signs of age and use. An additional layer of copper was riveted to the underside of the top tier to cover the darkening of the copper caused by the heat of the spirit burner. Please see additional images for details. Circa 1890s. Measures 4.75"H x 21"L x 9"W.

Learn More About W.A.S. Benson

Born in London, William Arthur Smith Benson studied classics and philosophy at Oxford University. There he met John Ruskin, whose writing on architecture inspired him to work in the field. He began work with an architecture firm in 1877 and the very next year began designing decorative metalwork and furniture for the British Arts and Crafts designer William Morris.

In 1880, with the encouragement of William Morris, he established his own workshop for the production of domestic silver and metalware in the Arts and Crafts style popularized by Morris. Benson’s workshop was supplemented by a factory, which he opened in 1883 in Hammersmith, London. It was there that he produced his simple, elegant and modern designs for kettles, electric lamps, candlesticks, and various decorative tableware and serving pieces in copper, brass and silverplate. Benson sold his work labelled as 'Art Metal' through his own showroom in Bond Street and the Morris & Co. showroom, located in London. 

Benson was a founder of the Art Workers’ Guild in 1884 and in 1893 wrote the influential book Elements of handicraft and design.

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