Another Italian success story, Luciano Ercolani (Italian, 1888-1976) brought continental modernism into the British home and the trading name, Ercol, is still a fixture in furniture to this day.
Luciano Ercolani emigrated to Britain in the late 19th century looking for work and quickly found his calling in the Salvation Army’s joinery department. After a spell at the Shoreditch Technical Institute, his skills caught the attention of Frederick Parker (later of Parker Knoll) who installed him in High Wycombe as part of Furniture Industries, a production hub in what was known as the ‘furniture capital’ of England.
Following WWII, during which the business had rapidly expanded, Ercolani landed a contract that would define his career, the production of 100,000 Windsor chairs for the Board of Trade Utility Furniture. In order to deliver this gargantuan order Ercolani decided to pare down this traditional chair to its bare essentials to both modernise its aesthetic and bring it into the world of mass production without compromising quality or durability. This ‘lightbulb moment’ informed the rest of Ercolani’s output through his career as his sleek yet sturdy “Ercol” furniture constructed in elm and ash spread through British homes.
Due to its lasting quality and timeless looks, Ercol furniture remains keenly sought after at auction. The most desirable pieces are from the original runs overseen by Ercolani himself and include the “Grand Plank” table which regularly sells for approximately £1,000, the iconic “Butterfly” dining chair, sets of which often achieve £1,000-2,000, the “Surfboard”-backed day bed and the “Giraffe” room divider. Wilson55 has an excellent record selling Ercol at auction and welcome enquiries regarding early or desirable examples of Ercol furniture for inclusion in our specialist sales.
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Auctioneer and valuer specialising in Modern Design. James has recently returned to the North West after spending the last few years as a valuer in Scotland, during that time James also featured on Paul Martin's Auction Showdown for Channel 5 as a 'Rival Auctioneer'.