ERNEST RACE (1913 – 1964): An original mid 1950s modernist ‘Antelope’ chair

Ernest Race (1913 – 1964): An original mid-1950s modernist ‘Antelope’ chair. The chair frame manufactured of painted steel rods with red bent plywood seat. Bearing ‘Race Furniture Ltd’ label to underside of seat and with rubberised feet. Originally designed for the Festival of Britain, London, 1951, manufactured circa 1955.

The ‘Antelope’ Chair

Ernest Race ‘Antelope’ chair is one of the icons of mid century British furniture design. The chair utilises new technology in a number of ways, combining shaped metal frame with ply seat. Whilst the red coloured seat captures the optimism of post War Britain.

This version of the ‘Antelope’ chair is from the mid-1950s commercial production. The chair was initially designed  as an outdoor chair for visitors to the Festival of Britain. By the mid-1950s the design of the foot had altered from a spherical shape to a more streamlined rubberised style.  It is believed the design was changed, as the original spherical feet were solid metal, therefore able to cause damage to patio and outdoor areas. To give buyers the choice we are offering a pair of contemporary rubberised ball feet (as per the 1951 design) manufactured by Race Ltd is included with this item.

For a similar chair see the Victoria & Albert Museum collection

The V&A archive collection details these pieces of furniture as follows:

The ‘Antelope’ was produced to furnish the outdoor terraces of the Festival Hall at the Festival of Britain in 1951. It was available in either chair or bench versions. The seat was painted in the Festival colours of yellow, blue, red or grey. Race’s ‘Springbok’ stacking chair was also designed for the Festival. The ‘Antelope’ demonstrates the economic use of material and form. The delicate curvelinear outline and distinctive ball feet typify the contemporary or festival style of the early 1950s. The design gained an international reputation for Ernest Race. Like Race’s BA3 chair, the ‘Antelope’ received a commendation at the 1954 Milan Triennale. The Race Furniture Ltd. put it in commercial production in the mid-1950s.

Condition and additional information

This chair is in very good period condition with some scratching to seat and paint loss to steel rods (see images).

For another piece of iconic British Festival of Britain design see our store:

MID CENTURY DESIGN: Gordon Russell Ltd. Utility “Double Helix” Sideboard, Designed by David Booth & Judith Ledeboer

Free delivery is offered on this item within the M25, Surrey, Sussex, Kent, Hampshire, Berkshire and Middlesex. Please email directly to request this option.


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