RFS Events 2017: A Study Day in the Lake District, Tuesday 21st March 2017 – booking now!

The schedule for 2017 is now available on the Events page and the first RFS event of 2017 will be A Study Day in the Lake District held on Tuesday 21st March 2017. Booking for the Study Day is now open  – please apply by 1st March. 

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View of Town End Farmhouse by Jeremy Bate

Until the discovery of the Lake District by the Romantic Movement in the late 18th century, this was a remote corner of England with a unique furniture history. Our day starts at the Armitt Museum, Ambleside, founded in 1912 to preserve and share the cultural heritage of the Lake District.

The Armitt’s collection includes the Great House Press from Troutbeck dated 1634, which local RFS member and Lakes furniture specialist Frank Wood rescued, restored, and described in the 2014 journal. Frank, our guide for the day, hopes to borrow further interesting pieces from outlying sites for our benefit. The Armitt Museum also holds important collections of Beatrix Potter’s early natural history watercolours and paintings by Kurt Schwitters,.

After lunch nearby we will travel the short distance to Troutbeck, one of the least disturbed villages in the area – largely of 16th and 17th c buildings – for a private visit to Town End farmhouse (NT) the home of the Browne family for over 400 years. Town End retains its original plain oak furniture preserved and ‘improved’ by the last George Browne in the late nineteenth century and is the only accessible farmhouse in the Lake District with a quantity of original vernacular furniture. We hope  RFS members with specialist knowledge of Lake District furniture will be available to share their knowledge with us. We will end the day with tea at the Old Post Office in the village.

Maximum: 30 members  Cost: £50 including lunch and tea (no reduction for NT members). Download the Booking Form here.

Members may choose to stay over and visit the highly regarded Jerwood Centre at Wordsworth’s Dove Cottage at Grasmere, Beatrix Potter’s cottage Hill Top at Sawry or Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House overlooking Windermere.

EDIT: Visit to The Whitechapel Bell Foundry is now fully booked

This visit is now fully booked.

New events and visits will be listed on the website in the New Year!

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We had planned a visit to the historic Whitechapel Bell Foundry, whose history began in the reign of Elizabeth I, for next autumn. However, we have just heard that the company will shortly close the premises in east London that it has occupied since 1738. We have been offered this date in February instead.

Possibly England’s oldest limited company, the foundry’s bells have rung out around the world. They include Big Ben, the largest bell ever cast by the firm, as well as the 1752 Philadelphia Liberty Bell, the bells of the Armenian church in Chennai, south India, the Bell of Hope that commemorates victims of the 9/11 attack and innumerable bells in the village churches of England.

On our visit, guided by the managing director, we will discover the materials and techniques of casting bells in bronze and be surrounded by medieval examples undergoing restoration. We will also be able to handle the very popular handbells which the company export throughout the world.

Jeremy Bate, Membership Secretary

New Publication: ‘NAMES FOR THINGS’ By Victor Chinnery

NAMES FOR THINGS
A Description of Household Stuff
Furniture and Interiors
1500-1700

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Members will be pleased to hear that the posthumous publication of a glossary of terms, written by Victor Chinnery is now available for pre-order

The book will be published in October 2016 and is an A4 hardback, 324 pages and containing 53 illustrations. The approach taken in the book is both original and creative. It places emphasis on the integrated relationship between furniture and the many artefacts found within the early British home.

In the book, Victor looks, not only at furniture, but also interior decoration, metalwork, pottery, wood types and the use of colour in interiors.

Glossary entries – giving a detailed description of the objects – are backed up by inventory references and other documentary evidence, which aim to explain how the objects would have been used, in a period setting.

It will be an invaluable work of reference for historians, museum curators, dealers and collectors alike.

The book is edited and contains a foreword by Jan Chinnery.

The book is set to retail at around £35, plus postage of £4.50 however, Regional Furniture Society members placing orders will receive a copy for £30 plus (UK) postage of £4.

To place an order for the book and for payment details by Bank transfer or cheque – please use the following email: namesforthings@outlook.com. The book is currently available exclusively through this address

Antique Metalware Society celebrates 25th anniversary with an online exhibition

The Antique Metalware Society, with a world-wide membership, is devoted to increasing the knowledge and promoting the appreciation of base-metal objects of all kinds and historical periods.

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‘Touch Base: A Visual Celebration of 25 Years’ is a web-based exhibition in which over 100 objects have been assembled to show the diversity and appeal of the base metals and their uses. The range of exhibits includes candlesticks, cauldrons, nutcrackers, snuff boxes, fire grates and many unusual and rare objects. Copper, brass, bronze, iron and Britannia metal all feature and each object is accompanied by photographs and a detailed explanatory text.

Dr Christopher Green, Chairman of the Antique Metalware Society, sums up the exhibition ‘ this is the metalware people have lived with day to day, at home, at work and at leisure. It’s a wonderful record of the use to which base metals have been put: the practical, the ingenious and sometimes the strange and curious.’

Click here to visit the exhibition: http://www.Antiquemetalwaresociety.org.uk

More information is available from Dr Geoff Smaldon, Secretary: geoff.smaldon@gmail.com or antiquemetalwaresociety@gmail.com

New events for Autumn 2016

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The programme and booking form for forthcoming RFS events are now available in the latest edition of the Newsletter and online on the Events page. The main Autumn event is a tour of the London Charterhouse. In addition, the Tools and Trades Society have invited RFS members to join them at a Technical Day at the Kelham Island Museum and Ken Hawley Collection Trust in Sheffield –  further details here.

Exhibition of Lincolnshire Chairs, 8th – 18th September 2016

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Members will be interested to hear about an exhibition of the largest collection of Lincolnshire windsor and rush-seated chairs to be held at Belton House this September. This will be a fascinating chance to learn about fine local chair-making and the best local craftsmanship, with several talks by William Sergeant from the Lincolnshire Chair Museum.

There will be free entrance on Saturday 10th September to coincide with the National Heritage Open Day.

Event: Wool, War and Wonders: The Story of Stow

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Members may be interested in this event at St Edward’s Hall, Stow on the Wold on Saturday 20th August. The organisers, Stow Civic Society, would be very pleased to hear from anyone who has regional furniture with a close connection to Stow on the Wold and would perhaps be willing to loan it for the display.

Contact Simon Clarke via email: simon.stowcivicsociety@gmail.com or through the website: www.stowcivicsociety.co.uk/wool-war-and-wonders/