Monty Don’s Real Craft


You may have caught the first episode of a new series, Monty Don’s Real Craft on More4 earlier this week, in which “Monty Don helps gifted amateurs revive crafts of the past as they compete to win a prized commission from a prestige buyer.”   Episode 2, to be shown on More4 on  Monday 21st April at 9pm, is called ‘Wood’  and involves three amateur furniture-makers competing “for the chance to work with one of the UK’s most respected furniture companies.” It will definitely be worth a watch as some of the programme was filmed earlier this year with Dr Bill Cotton at his home in Cirencester.

Exhibition: William Kent – Designing Georgian Britain, Victoria & Albert Museum, 22 March – 13 July


If you haven’t already seen it, the V&A’s current exhibition William Kent - Designing Georgian Britain, will be of  some interest.

Experience the world of William Kent, the most prominent architect and designer in early Georgian Britain and explore how his versatility and artistic inventiveness set the style for his age when Britain defined itself as a new nation and developed an Italian-inspired style.” For more information see here.

To complement this major design show we have organised a morning visit to Chiswick House, for members on Thursday15th May. See the Events page for further information and booking details.


Spring 2014 Newsletter – out now!

Newsletter Spring 2014

The latest beautiful edition of the Regional Furniture Society Newsletter (Spring 2014) has been published and is being sent to existing members this week. As well as a full listing of this year’s forthcoming activities, it contains  a number of  fascinating illustrated articles looking at Emily Gimson’s Rocking Chair, A Deal Furniture Tradition in Kent and Sir Robert Walpole’s Electioneering Chair. There are also reports on recent RFS events and visits.

Two editions of the newsletter and a copy of the Journal are free to members each year. A list of past articles and contributors is available here.

Join the Regional Furniture Society here and receive your copy of the latest newsletter and Journal.



Chicago and Milwaukee Tour, October 2014

Plans for a tour to the Chicago and Milwaukee areas are making progress, with the help of Jon Prown, our former American Hon Sec and Director of the Chipstone Foundation.  It promises to be a fascinating tour taking in one America’s most amazing cities and spectacular countryside right over the autumn ‘fall’ when the maple leaves should be at their best.  Full details are being worked up but it looks as though it will be around 8 days in early October for a travel and hotel costs of around £1,200 pp, plus meals and other expenses.

Some of the attractions in Chicago, apart from the extraordinary architecture and lakeside setting, include the Art Institute of Chicago, a world-class museum with great decorative arts collections and a famous series of miniature period rooms; a number of late 19thc town houses with stunning aesthetic style décor; and of course Frank Lloyd Wright’s home and studio.  Just outside Chicago we will visit John Bryan’s home and museum at Crabtree Farm, one of the most amazing private museums with wonderful American and English furniture, Arts and Crafts collections and active workshops for artists and craftsmen.

In the Milwaukee area visits will include the Chipstone Foundation to see high quality American period furniture and a great collection of English delftware; private collections in nearby houses of early American and English furniture and decorative arts; Old World Wisconsin, a living history museum; and Ten Chimneys Foundation, the Scandinavian-style country home of Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, famous acting duo of the 1920s, filled with their furniture, art and personal possessions.

So there should be plenty of variety, much of interest and quite a lot of spectacular!  Polly already has a list of those who have expressed interest; any others should get in touch with her.  Further details and booking forms will follow.
 - David Dewing (

This weekend: “The life and times of Thomas Chippendale” Friday 21 February – Sunday 23 February, Maddingley Hall, Cambridge

We have just been notified about this fascinating course, being run by the University Of Cambridge Institute Of Continuing Education this coming weekend:

The life and times of Thomas Chippendale
Thomas Chippendale’s role in the development of furniture will be studied in the context of other designers and cabinet-makers working in the period 1740 to 1780. His work in the rococo taste and then in the neo-classical style for Robert Adam will be considered along with his standard design book of 1754: The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director.

The course will be taught by Martin Beazor. Martin is an antiques dealer and the Managing Director of his long-established family business, John Beazor Antiques in Cambridge. Martin has also lectured for the University of California, NADFAS and many antiques clubs and societies. He endeavours to convey not only the facts but also the feel of this fascinating subject. Martin has also been a member of the vetting Committee of the British Antique Dealers’ Association annual Fair. He is now a Fellow of the RSA.

This course will take place at Madingley Hall, an elegant 16th century country house three miles west of Cambridge that has been the home of ICE for much of its 140-year history. Accommodation within the Hall is available for the duration of the course weekend if desired, and meals in the grand dining hall –  presenting an excellent opportunity for further discussions with fellow students – are included as part of the cost.

The fee for this course is £240. Accommodation is available in one of Madingley Hall’s comfortable en suite bedrooms for the course weekend if required; visit the website for full details: