The furniture firm of Robert Strahan and Co was founded in 1776. Operating from premises in 10-11 Chancery Lane, by 1815 it was so successful that two new workshops opened at 24-25 Henry Street and 5 Leinster Street in 1845.
They displayed their work at Dublin's great industrial exhibition of 1853, where the best examples of Irish design and manufacture were on show. In 1870 the firm moved to Abbey Street and continued to trade under the well-established family name up until 1969.
Patronized by the Office of Public Works, the firm designed and manufactured high quality but often unadorned furniture. Other work, however, such as a walnut table exhibited at the second London International Exhibition of 1862, was far more ornate, showing the influence of designers such as Thomas Hope (1769-1831) and Richard Bridgens (1785-1846). Illustrated in the Art Journal Illustrated Catalogue for the London exhibition, the table was heavily decorated with intricate marquetry, scrolling foliage, masks, strap work and cartouches.
Strahan designed furniture for some of the great Irish country houses such as Doneraile Court, Co. Cork and Lisnavagh, Co. Carlow.
Drawings of furniture by Strahan are on display in Room 5 in the “ Four centuries of Furnishings” exhibition on the third floor.