Deadline for RFS bursary applications

A quick reminder that the deadline for applications for bursaries is coming up. Applications need to be with the bursary committee by July 31st.  The bursaries are designed to encourage and support research projects related to regional furniture, with a view to publication. See here for further details and the application form.

Research in Progress day, Saturday, May 23rd – places still available

There are still places available for the Research In Progress day, which is being held on Saturday, May 23rd. The venue is Rippon College Cuddesdon, Oxford, OX44 9EX, 10 – 5pm

Rippon College, Colin Bates [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Rippon College, Colin Bates [CC BY-SA 2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

Some of the speakers are already well-known to members of the Society but others are researchers we are hearing from for the first time.  Subjects will include Chris Pickvance’s ‘What is a Kent chest’,  Andrew Cox Whitaker’s work on the ingenious Mr Elwick and Wakefield cabinet makers and  David Bryant on Isaac Newton’s spinning wheel.  Alan Moore’s research on fine furniture making in the 18th century and Robert Williams’ on timber supplies during the Napoleonic War will address materials and techniques, and recent research on chairs and chair makers will be represented by Andrew Honey, Tony Howe and William Sergeant, on chairs from Kent, Surrey or Sussex, East Anglia and the north east midlands.

The day will also include visiting the original buildings of Cuddesdon College, designed by G E Street in the 1850s, which still retain some of the furniture he designed.

The cost of the day is £30 per head and includes coffee, lunch and tea. Please contact the events secretary on or using the online booking form here.

Exhibition: Make Yourself Comfortable, 28 March – 23 October, Chatsworth House

RFS members may be interested in this invitation “to experience Chatsworth in a new way; to take a seat and make yourself comfortable.”

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Chatsworth is “turning to contemporary furniture designers to provide a completely different experience for our visitors”.  A number of works have been specially commissioned for the exhibition by established and emerging designers including a collaboration with students at Sheffield Hallam University.

There is also an opportunity to  join the curator, Hannah Obee, for a Make Yourself Comfortable tour on 24 April and 26 June.

For more information, see here:

Masterclasses in Sitting, High Wycombe, April 17th 2015

150317 chairs for arching pt2e

RFS members are invited to attend a free series of presentations by manufacturers, designers and historians to discuss High Wycombe’s famous history of bodging and the Windsor Chair.

Masterclasses in Sitting is a commission for the new Wye Dene development in High Wycombe. Taking as the starting point High Wycombe’s rich history as the centre for furniture production, public works proposes a project which uses ‘sitting’ as a way of relating. Connecting the new Wye Dene estate with High Wycombe, its past and future.

The talks will take place on  17th April 2015, 6pm at the Wrights Meadow Centre, Wrights Meadow Road Wycombe Marsh, High Wycombe, HP11 1SQ . No RSVP is needed, the event is free.
About the Speakers:
Speakers on the evening will be furniture historian Dr Bernard ‘Bill’ Cotton, artist craftsman Stuart King and professor in furniture Jake Kaner. Each will be giving a short presentation on them will be reflecting on the Chair industry the Windsor Chair in particular. public works will use the opportunity to discuss the proposal for the forthcoming Chair arch for High Wycombe 
Dr Bernard ‘Bill’ Cotton is a furniture historian who has pioneered the study of vernacular furniture in both the UK and in Countries where the British settled. He has travelled widely, often with his wife Gerry, to record the regional traditions of furniture made for the homes of working people , over a forty year period. His extensive archive is a major resource of design and social history information and his collection of some four hundred English regional chairs is now gifted to the Geffrye museum. His published work includes ‘The English Regional Chair’ (ACC. 1990 ).   More recently he has completed his major work  ‘Scottish Vernacular Furniture’ (Thames and Hudson. 2008  ) which for the first time identifies the chair and other furniture designs made there.
He was co founder, with Christopher Gilbert, of the Regional Furniture Society and is presently the society’s Emeritus President.
Jake Kaner is professor in furniture at Bucks New University. He has been involved with documenting the furniture industry through the curation of the High Wycombe Furniture Archive. Funding awarded form the arts and humanities research council supported the digitisation project which captured 16,000 images and text from the archive. The material covers the High Wycombe manufacturers, Ercol, Gomme (G-Plan) and Skull. The website that disseminates the material has been highly successful receiving an average of 100,000 hits per month since its launch in 2009. Currently Jake is working to digitise the William Birch archive in partnership with the Wycombe Museum. This material illustrates design books for art furniture that was made for Liberty’s of London between 1890 and 1910. A further project involving the designs of Ib Kofod-Larsen, a Danish designer who worked for G-Plan in the 1960s, involves creating computer based models of furniture that was never put into production.  Jake is also a trustee for Wycombe Heritage and Arts Trust.
Stuart King was born in the Buckinghamshire village of Holmer Green in 1942, and played as a child in the local Beech woods. The countryside and the trades and traditions of those that shaped it over centuries have always fascinated him and influenced his work.
Stuart spent a lifetime researching, recording and collecting anything about the rural past and today is recognised as a well-known artist craftsman, demonstrator, international lecturer and photo-journalist. He is still actively recording traditional crafts, local landscape and history via photography and video and occasionally appears on TV.

Exhibition: An Abiding Standard, Royal Academy of Arts, 25th February – 24th May

241. "The Chair Maker", engraving, 1944 [215 x 154 mm] Private Collection. © Stanley Anderson Estate

241. “The Chair Maker”, engraving, 1944 [215 x 154 mm] Private Collection. © Stanley Anderson Estate

Stanley Anderson RA (1884-1960) was a key figure in the revival of engraving in the 1920s, best known for his series of prints depicting England’s vanishing rural crafts. ‘The Chair Maker’, very probably of Jack Goodchild, one of the last of the Chiltern makers, is typical of his work to be shown in an exhibition, An Abiding Standard, at the Royal Academy of Arts, running from 25th February – 24th. May. For more information see the RA website here.
Admission is £3, or free to holders of tickets to other current exhibitions at the RA including the magnificent Rubens show. A catalogue raisonne will be published to coincide with the exhibition.

Events for Spring 2015 and AGM and Conference Details

Ahead of the publication of the Spring Newsletter, details of some the upcoming RFS events are now available on the Events page.

In April members have been invited to visit Tim Phelps Fine Furniture Restoration workshop and the Research in Progress event will take place at Ripon College Cuddesdon, near Oxford in May.

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Arrangements for the AGM and conference are underway and the particulars can be seen in full here: Conference and AGM 2015. Please note that the conference will take place on the first weekend in July – slightly earlier than usual.

As usual, please direct any enquiries or bookings to the Events Officer – or use the online form here.