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Morison & Co (1862-1902)

Morison & Co

78 George Street, Edinburgh, Scotland; furniture makers (fl. 1862-1902)

Founded by Matthew Morison in Ayr and expanded by his son, James, with branches in Glasgow and Edinburgh. James cultivated a relationship with the architect David Bryce, and Bryce was commissioned to alter Morison & Co’s premises on George Street. After James Morison’s death in 1862 the firm was taken over by an employee, William Reid, and named Morison & Co. Became well known as suppliers of high-class furnishings under William’s son, William Robert Reid, including reproductions of Georgian and other antique furniture. Andreas Scheu, a Viennese social agitator and friend of William Morris, lived in Glasgow briefly and then in Edinburgh from 1884-85 working as a designer for the firm. The firm was recorded in the Furniture Gazette 1886 as makers of billiard tables and bagatelle boards at 78 George Street, Edinburgh. One of the submissions sent by architect Robert Lorimer to the 1893 Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society exhibition in London was a linen press made by A Paterson of Morison & Co.In 1902, William Robert Reid bought Lauriston Castle and furnished it with antique furniture: his personal taste no doubt accounted at least in part for the firm’s expertise in producing reproduction antiques. By contrast, the firm also enjoyed international recognition for their outfitting of luxurious railway carriages. In 1902 W R Reid sold the company to W Turner Lord & Co of London, who continued to run it under the name Morison & Co. In 1909 Morisons were commissioned to supply furniture to Ardtonish House, for Gertrude Craig Sellar and her son Gerard. They were probably the makers of a set of sixteen chairs in the Chippendale ‘Ribbon-back’ style still at the house (illus. Wood, Furniture History (2015), fig. 13).

Sources: Furniture Gazette: Classified List of the Furniture, Upholstery, and Allied Trades, 1886; Anderson, ‘Robert Lorimer and Scott Morton & Company’, Regional Furniture (1995); Wood, ‘Tied Up in Knots: Three Centuries of the Ribbon-Back Chair’, Furniture History (2015); Carruthers, The Arts and Crafts Movement in Scotland (2013).