C is for Cat’s Cradle Chair
The working drawings for the design of the Cat's Cradle Chair were made by Edward James in 1936, following a suggestion by Salvador Dali. Also known as the Hand's Chair, it was produced specifically for James' residence, Monkton House, on the family West Dean Estate, near Chichester in West Sussex, which he transformed into an extravaganza of surreal fantasy.
James had begun experimenting with interior design during his time at Christ Church, Oxford, where he was a contemporary of Betjeman, Evelyn Waugh and Harold Acton, in 1926. Waugh would later commemorate these years in Brideshead Revisited. Here James painted walls purple and hung them with silk and contemporary posters, alongside imitation 17th century tapestries. His curtains were a William-and-Mary design in red. In the mid-thirties he continued to transform Monkton House with incongruous juxtapositions of dissimilar objects, including the Mae West Lips sofa.