In this issue there are varied contributions to the short notes and queries section, ranging from an appeal for help in the search for John Lombe’s Piedmont chest, thought to have been used to carry designs and models of silk-throwing equipment key to the foundation of the mill in Derby c. 1717, to the discovery of a chair that is the missing link in how Windsor chair making began in Grantham in 1800. A note on John Erhart Rose, a nineteenth-century cabinetmaker in Virginia, and a Letter from America bring news of current furniture research in the United States. Reports from the annual conference in Shropshire show the richness of furniture and buildings visited. Hans Piena from the Netherlands Open Air Museum at Arnhem gave the Christopher Gilbert Memorial Lecture, examining the history of the Dutch ladder-back chair. Full details are in the Newsletter.
left to right: thirteenth-century chair, excavated from a site near Rotterdam; a reproduction of what the original would have looked like. Collection of the Netherlands Open Air Museum, Arnhem
There are still places available for the private visit to Oak House, West Bromwich on Thursday 5 September 2019.
The Oak House Museum has a collection of fine 17th-century panelling and good oak furniture, some local, but mostly bought in the early 20th century, supplemented by items loaned from the V&A collections. Fee: £10, for members and their guests, refreshments not included.
The booking deadline has been extended to 1st September.
Please use the One day events booking form – Spring 2019 and send to the Events Secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org.
An Exhibition of Lincolnshire chairs at Alford Manor, West St., Alford, Lincs, LN13 9HT
All are invited to this exhibition which started in April and continues until October 2019.
The exhibition includes a variety of types of chair, from early 18th century Forest chairs (the earliest form of Windsor chair) to 18th and 19th century rush-seated and Windsor chairs from the county as well as some examples of cabinet makers’ chairs. Where known, the names of the makers and places of origin of the chairs, are identified. The exhibition will be of interest to all those with an interest in regional types of chair, whether from Lincolnshire or elsewhere, including those interested in their family history who may have inherited a ‘family chair’.
The exhibition has been organised by William Sergeant who has curated two short exhibitions of Lincolnshire Chairs in recent years, and is mainly sourced from his own Museum. Such has been the success of these events that he has managed to negotiate this longer Exhibition at Alford Manor House in North East Lincolnshire.
An online catalogue has been created of the items on display: https://alfordchair2019.blogspot.com/
For more information on Alford Manor, Alford Manor Chair Exhibition 2019
RFS members will be interested to hear about this course run by Wessex Fine Art Study Courses and led by Dr David Jones. The tour will be based in Aberdeenshire, a magnificent and unspoilt part of North-East Scotland.
The area is renowned for its great concentration of romantic turreted tower houses, with their rich Renaissance plasterwork and painted ceilings. We shall be seeing Crathes, Craigevar, Fyvie and Monymusk, all with interesting furniture. The tower theme continues into the early 18th– century with the dramatic Baroque splendour of William Adam’s Duff House, and in the 19th century is revived in the castellated Gothic of Gillespie Graham’s Drumtochty Castle and Archibald Simpson’s superbly sited Castle Forbes. By contrast, William Adam’s Haddo House (1732) is a classical Palladian country house, with Adam Revival interiors furnished by Wright and Mansfeld. At Kemnay House the original 18th-century furniture survives together with the related furniture bills, whilst Fyvie holds a magnificent collection of Old Master paintings and works of art.
In Scotland few mediaeval churches survived the Reformation, but one of the most fascinating is the ancient collegiate church at Cullen in Morayshire, with interesting furnishings. Important historic gardens to be visited include the rare Renaissance garden of Edzell, the restored Victorian gardens of Haddo and the outstanding early 20th-century gardens of Crathes.
The tour will be based at the Macdonald Pittodrie House Hotel****, near Inverurie, one of Scotland’s most historic hotels, and situated about 20 miles from Aberdeen, with wonderful views of the surrounding countryside.
The 7-day tour will cost £2195 per person in a twin-bedded or double room, £350 single supplement. This will include accommodation B/B/Dfor 6 nights, most lunches, all coach transport, entrance fees and gratuities, and detailed course notes.
For the full programme and booking form see www.wfasc.co.uk
The 2019 Annual General Meeting of the Regional Furniture Society will be held at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday 14 July in the Regional Food Academy of Harper Adams University. It is located in Edgmond, Shropshire which is two miles west of Newport and 9 miles north of Telford.
All members are invited to attend, not just those attending the Shropshire Conference.
The Annual Report and Accounts for 2018 are available on the website on the Annual Report and Accounts page. Any member requiring a paper version should send an A4 self-addressed envelope to the Secretary requesting a copy.
Jeremy Rycroft, Secretary
The Cabinetmaker’s Account: John Head’s Record of Craft & Commerce in Colonial Philadelphia, 1718-1753, by Jay Robert Stiefel
Suffolk-born joiner John Head immigrated to Philadelphia in 1717 and became one of its most successful artisans and merchants. However, Head’s prominence had been lost to history until Jay Stiefel’s discovery of his account book at the American Philosophical Society Library. Head’s account book is the earliest and most complete to have survived from any cabinetmaker working in British North America or in Great Britain and offers a 35-year ‘moving picture’ of an 18th century cabinetmaker’s daily life.
Historian, lawyer, and collector Jay Robert Stiefel is an authority on the crafts and commerce of Colonial Philadelphia and the institutions founded by Franklin for the welfare of its tradesmen. He studied history at the University of Pennsylvania and Christ Church, Oxford. Stiefel’s writings and lectures on social history have restored to the historical record many early craftsmen, artists, and merchants whose prominence had been obscured by the passage of time.
Jay will be presenting a lecture to introduce his new book at three venues over the next month:
Tuesday April 30th at 5:00 p.m. Christ Church, Oxford. Free, but booking required via the Christ Church website.
Wednesday, 1 May 2019, 6.00pm – 8.00pm Benjamin Franklin House, 36 Craven Street, London WC2N 5NF Cost: £28 – see the Furniture History Society website.
Thursday, May 9th. 6:00 – 8:00 pm at Lyon & Turnbull, Broughton St. Edinburgh. Tel: 0131 557 8844 for details.