Press release | 29 May 2024

Marshlands Drinks Cabinet awarded Christopher Claxton Stevens Prize

We are thrilled to announce the Marshlands Drinks Cabinet, designed and made by Elliott Butterwick whilst a student at Robinson House Studio, has been awarded the Christopher Claxton Stevens Prize 2024 by The Furniture Makers’ Company, the City of London livery company and charity for the furnishing industry.

The Christopher Claxton Stevens Prize was presented to Elliott by the Rt Hon the Lord Mayor, Honorary Liveryman, Alderman Professor Michael Mainelli, and Brian Ahern, Master of The Furniture Makers’ Company, at the Mansion House, London, on Monday 13 May 2024.

The Christopher Claxton Stevens Prize is awarded annually to the most outstanding design that has won a Bespoke Guild Mark in the past 12 months. In addition to a certificate, the award includes a cash prize of £1,000, sponsored by Christopher Claxton Stevens, Past Master of The Furniture Makers’ Company.

The Bespoke Guild Mark recognises excellence in design, materials, craftsmanship and function for exquisite pieces of furniture made as single items or a limited run of up to 12. It is awarded to beautifully crafted pieces of bespoke furniture and, since its launch in 1958, has been the apex of distinctions for UK designer-makers.

Incorporating 5,000-year-old bog oak, the Marshlands Drinks Cabinet explores the relationship between North Norfolk’s tidal swell and its salt marshes. The curved, wave-like doors incorporate a grass texture, achieved by taking a silicone mould of marshland grass, in stark contrast to the luxurious sycamore interior and polished bespoke brass handles.

Elliott studied design at Leeds Metropolitan University, before furthering his studies at the Sir John Cass School of Design, London Metropolitan. Elliott’s design influences stem from his fixation of bespoke handmade objects that encourage interaction with the user. He then perfected his skills and designed the Marshland pieces under the careful eye of tutors Theo Cook and Marc Fish here at Robinson House Studio. Marc also won the Christopher Claxton-Stevens Prize in 2019.

See Elliott Butterwick’s student profile and further photos of his work made whilst at RHS.

Commenting on receiving the award, Elliott said:

“It is truly an honour to receive this year’s Christopher Claxton Stevens Prize, one of the highest accolades in British furniture. The journey to completing the cabinet was full of challenges, and lots of mistakes were made along the way. This award has given me the inspiration to push boundaries even further in future cabinet making.”

Daniel Hopwood, Bespoke Guild Mark chairman, said:

“The Marshlands Drinks Cabinet is an elegant design that marries excellent craftsmanship with a great choice of contrasting woods, notably bog oak which Elliott was not afraid to use despite its potential shortcomings. He did so extremely effectively, and the outcome was an exceptional piece of bespoke

Notes to editors
About the Bespoke Guild Mark
In order to be awarded a Bespoke Guild Mark, a design is stringently vetted and scrutinised by a panel of judges, with the jury assessing excellence in the following areas:

  • Design – the thinking behind the design of the piece, its scale, and its innovative features.
  • Materials – the materials used in the piece, including the finish, and the reasons for the choices.
  • Craftsmanship – special features, including any particularly complex problems solved.
  • Function – the design brief and how it has been fulfilled.
  • Pieces awarded a Bespoke Guild Mark are recognisably items of quality and distinction, and to substantiate and promote this accolade, Bespoke Guild Mark holders receive a certificate of authentication, PR opportunities, permission to use the Bespoke Guild Mark branding in communication materials and automatic consideration for the annual Claxton Stevens Prize – a £1,000 prize awarded to the best Bespoke Guild Mark awarded piece of the year.
  • In addition to celebrating the creativity, skilled craftsmanship and technical ability of Britain’s established designer-makers who win an award, the Bespoke Guild Mark provides invaluable expertise and insight to unsuccessful applicants to further improve their craft for the future.
    Assessment Applications are considered four times a year by a jury made up of experienced designers, makers, academics and other industry experts. The first assessment is made using the images and details sent with the application form. If the submitted piece qualifies, a smaller jury will perform a physical inspection of the piece to prepare a report on whether it should be awarded a Bespoke Guild Mark.
  • Finally, the committee again using the images, the application form and the inspection panel’s report to decide whether the piece fulfils all four criteria and therefore merits the award of a Bespoke Guild Mark. The applicant is notified either way as soon as possible afterwards.

About The Furniture Makers’ Company
The Furniture Makers’ Company is a City of London livery company and the furnishing industry’s charity. It fosters the industry by supporting those in need, nurturing skills and expertise and inspiring excellence. It provides support and assistance to those in need who are working or have worked in the UK furnishing industry. It supports students and young people with grants, training and mentoring in order to foster talent and safeguard the future of the industry. It encourages the highest standards and best practice in the design, making, marketing and selling of all kinds of furniture and furnishings throughout the UK, recognising quality through the award of its Guild Marks and Awards.
For further information, contact George Cooper, or 020 7562 8522.

Student wins Christopher Claxton Stevens Prize 2024