In 1990, the Friends commissioned a stained glass window (at the cost of £6,972) in multi coloured abstract design by Chinks Grylls for the extension built in 1989. The design brief was to produce a window that both reflected the contents of this gallery and was interesting to people looking at the building from the outside. It also had to work with the metalwork grill that the artist Alan Evans was designing for the outside of the building. Chinks Grylls worked with a number of objects in the collection, including the only other piece of stained glass in the gallery. The panel by Paul Woodroffe inspired the colours used in the final pieces. Other inspirations came from rush seats, furniture inlay and painted decoration. The artist looks back on it as being an important first commission which helped steer her future direction as glass artist working with architecture. She continues to work in the South West.
In 1991, the Friends commissioned a metal grille (at the cost of £15,345) made of rods and flat sheets designed and made by Alan Evans for the front entrance of the museum in 1989, when a new extension was built. The piece references work by Ernest Gimson: a squirrel on the inner face of the grille relates to fire dogs by Gimson, and there are also acorn shaped bronze nuts locking the grille together.
In 1993, the Friends contributed £223 towards the purchase of a limestone carving, coloured in blue and sanguine depicting the Nativity designed and carved by Eric Gill in 1920, based on a design by one of his children. This sculpture dates from the time when Gill was living on Ditchling Common in Sussex, where he pursued his desire for a self-sufficient lifestyle. Inspired partly by William Morris, he brought together a group of Catholic craftsmen in the belief that their work was a form of divine worship. In 1920 they founded the Guild of St Joseph and St Dominic, which continued until 1989. The Latin inscription on the base of the sculpture, which was made for Gill’s children, translates as ‘The Word became flesh’ (John 1, v.14).
In 1994, the Friends contributed £10,000 towards the purchase of the oil painting Extensive View from Rodborough Fort, anon (c.1760).
In 1996, the Friends contributed £7,000 towards the purchase of a semi-grand Broadwood piano designed by Charles Robert Ashbee in 1898-9 and made by the Guild of Handicraft in 1900. It was made as a wedding present from Ashbee to his new wife, Janet Forbes, who was a keen pianist. The painting was done by Walter Taylor, who had been an apprentice at the Guild of Handicraft, and who had gone on to work at Morris & Co. The words and images were taken from a poem by Ashbee titled Beethoven in Olympus; he had a particular fondness for that composer’s work. It was a focal point in the Ashbee household until the 1940s when it was given to Toynbee Hall, the pioneer University Settlement in the East End of London where Ashbee established the Guild of Handicraft in 1888.
In 1999, the Friends contributed £3,500 towards an oak table with ceramic ball feet designed by Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin and made in his Covent Garden workshop in the 1830’s. The subdued Gothic Revival design of the table is a precursor of work by arts and crafts designers.