Lawrie Gatehouse (1943 - 2020)
was an avid collector of Art Deco and posters, drawn to the printed medium through his primary love of the golden age of steam and travel.
In his professional life, Lawrie was a mechanical engineer who founded Process Systems International, a successful engineering firm in Northampton in 1992. Another of his lifelong passions was drag racing, after getting hooked at the Blackbushe DragFest in 1964. He consequently spent over 50 years committed to the sport.
He loved the innovative streamlined style, the bright colours and the flamboyance of the age. But, above all, he admired the skill and exquisite craftsmanship - the like of which he felt would not be seen again.
Lawrie’s collection of 1920’s posters showed his engineering background and his enjoyment of travel. He had an extensive knowledge of cars, boats and planes but his love for anything with an engine came second to his love of Art Deco.
Lawrie was an avid reader and he studied countless books about the leading designers of that time.
Walnut & Burr Walnut
Walnut is a hard, dense, tight- grained wood that polishes to a very smooth finish. It is a popular and attractive wood whose colour ranges from near white in the sapwood to a dark hew in the heartwood. When dried in a kiln, walnut wood tends to develop a dull brown colour, but when air-dried can become a rich purplish-brown. Because of its colour, hardness and grain, it is a prized furniture and carving wood. Walnut veneer was highly priced and the cost would reflect the ‘fanciness’ of the veneer – the more decorative, then the more expensive and desirable.
Burr walnut refers to the swirling figure present in nearly all walnut when cut and polished, and especially in the wood taken from the base of the tree where it joins the roots. However the true burr is a rare growth on the tree where hundreds of tiny branches have started to grow. Burr walnut produces some of the most complex and beautiful figuring you can find.
Walnut "burrs" were often used to make fabulous furniture. Veneer sliced from walnut burl is one of the most valuable and highly prized by cabinet makers and prestige car manufacturers and is also a favourite material for shotgun stocks.
Inlay was commonly used in the production of decorative burr walnut furniture, where pieces of coloured veneers are inlaid into the surface of the walnut, adding delicate or intricate patterns and designs. Inlays normally use various exotic veneers, but other materials such as mother-of-pearl, brass or bone were also be used.