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Morris and Gardener

Carved oak bookcase containing approx 1258 books.

The bookcase and books were donated to the museum collection by John Bright’s daughter, Mrs J A Bright in 1924-5.

Designed by Mr Morris and executed by Mr Gardener, both of the City of Chester.  The books were selected by John Bright himself.

The bookcase and library was presented to John Bright by public subscription in 1853 (3149 individuals resident in 172 towns and villages in the UK donated funds) as acknowledgement of his great service in the cause of free trade in connection with the National Anti Corn Law League. The total cost was £400 which is the equivalent of approximately £28,000 in 2011.

Large and impressive Victorian carved oak breakfront bookcase carved overall with references to the Anti Corn Law League 1846.

The central triangular pediment is carved with a masted ship surrounded by numerous barrels and bales, with egg and dart cornice. The frieze is carved with flora and a meandering ribbon with ‘FIAT JUSTITIA FOUNDED 1839 NATIONAL ANTI CORN LAW LEAGUE TRIUMPHED 1846 VERITAS VINCIT’ above four pairs of brass astragal cabinet doors enclosing adjustable shelves, each spaced by a wheatsheaf and fruit carved pilaster.