In a career spanning more than 50 years, Wendell Castle has created works that bridge traditional definitions of craft, design, and sculpture.

One-of-a-kind pieces such as this Lectern—with its fluid, curvaceous form—are both functional and sculptural, thereby blurring the boundaries between the genres.

Castle's earliest influence was American woodworker and sculptor Wharton Esherick, whose technical skills and aesthetics, as well as forms and approach to wood, Castle sought to emulate. Soon, Castle would incorporate lamination techniques to achieve what he called a more expressive, ahistorical, and organic approach to furniture. This development was inspired, in part, by his friendship with British furniture maker John Makepeace, who had revived traditional cabinetmaking skills and paired them with a contemporary aesthetic.

Ultimately, Castle developed his own sculptural language that he has employed to great effect in wood, fiberglass, metal, and plastic. He continues to create innovative, dynamic furniture, including 2007's Dem Bones, also in the MFAH collection of decorative arts.


  • Title: Lectern
  • Creator: Wendell Castle
  • Date Created: 1975
  • Physical Dimensions: w55.9 x h99.1 x d48.3 cm (overall)
  • Type: Furniture
  • Rights: © Wendell Castle, Inc.
  • External Link: MFAH
  • Medium: Cherry
  • Credit Line: The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, The Leatrice S. and Melvin B. Eagle Collection, gift of Leatrice and Melvin Eagle

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