Made to Impress



Like many articles displayed at the Great Exhibition, this remarkable cabinet was made to impress.

Manufactured by McCallum & Hodson, one of Birmingham’s leading makers of japanned papier mâché, it was clearly designed to show their familiarity with new technical developments, like steam-moulding which made possible the acanthus leaf motifs on its cabriole legs, and above all, to demonstrate their decorative expertise.

The firm was first listed in a Birmingham directory of 1835. James McCallum had been apprenticed to Jennens & Bettridge, the best-known of Birmingham’s nineteenth-century japan factories, while Edward Hodson was a businessman. Together they built up a successful factory which became well known for its extensive foreign and home trade, as well as its supply of ‘blanks’ or undecorated articles to other japanners.

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Great Exhibition