British and Irish Furniture Makers Online

Readers will be interested to hear about this fascinating new project –  British and Irish Furniture Makers Online (BIFMO). The project is a collaboration between the Furniture History Society and the Institute of Historical Research with the goal of developing and making accessible the history of furniture as a material, cultural, social and economic subject of study.

From the press release:

Conversation piece, a cabinet maker’s office. Oil Painting, England, c. 1770 (© Victoria and Albert Museum, London, Image No. 2006BF4151-01).

The Institute of Historical Research and the Furniture History Society are delighted to announce that British and Irish Furniture Makers Online  is now freely available to view online at https://bifmo.data.history.ac.uk.

The initial phase of the project has seen the construction of the BIFMO database comprising information on English furniture makers drawn from the definitive 1986 guide to the trade, the Dictionary of English Furniture Makers, 1660 – 1840, as well as from the London Joiners’ Company apprenticeship and freedom records, 1640-1720.

The database will contain detailed biographies of British and Irish furniture makers from the sixteenth century to the present day, providing a rich resource for historians of social, economic, political, art, furniture and material culture, as well as to collectors, connoisseurs and the art market. In addition to extending the chronological dates of the database’s biographical data, our aim is to broaden the contents of BIFMO to visual materials, as well as the reproduction of a wide range of primary sources.

The second phase of the project is undertaking new research to explore key historical questions surrounding the furniture making industry, including a case study on the role of British and Irish women in the nineteenth century: where they lived, their occupational roles, how they sold their wares, and their clientele. In addition, ongoing development to the BIFMO website will introduce new ways of engaging with the data as we enhance the information in the Dictionary with new scholarship published since 1986.

BIFMO is an ongoing project, with separate but integrated research, resource-creation, public engagement and training strands. If you would like more information about the project, or the database, or getting involved, please do get in touch: http://bifmo.data.history.ac.uk/contact

Clive Edwards to give the 2017 Christopher Gilbert Lecture, 3:00 p.m. Saturday 21 October at the Geffrye Museum, Shoreditch

Clive Edwards, Emeritus Professor of Design History, Loughborough University, will deliver this year’s Christopher Gilbert Lecture: The upholsterer and the retailing of domestic furnishings 1600–1800. Clive will welcome questions and discussion after his lecture while tea is served. Cost: £10 for members and guests.

To make a day of it an informal visit is planned to the Charles Dickens Museum,  Bloomsbury, the family home of Charles and Catherine Dickens in London, where the author wrote Oliver Twist, The Pickwick Papers and Nicholas Nickleby, and where he first achieved international fame as one of the world’s greatest storytellers. The house, in a late Georgian terrace, with faithfully re-created interiors, including many items of his furniture is where his three eldest children were born and where he entertained many famous guests. Lunch may be taken nearby, or members may prefer to lunch at the Geffrye Museum, which is only a short bus ride away.

The Christopher Gilbert Lecture booking form

Exhibition: Take a Seat! An exhibition of Lincolnshire chairs, Louth Museum, 13th September to 28th October 2017

 

Members will be interested to hear about Take a Seat! An exhibition of  Lincolnshire craftsman-made chairs which will be held at Louth Museum from 13th September to 28th October 2017.

The extraordinary history of chairmaking at the beginning of the nineteenth century in Lincolnshire has only recently been revealed by vernacular furniture historian and long standing member of the RFS, William Sergeant.  He has shown that the scale of windsor chair manufacture was unique in the UK and was far greater than was previously thought. During this period hundreds of thousands of chairs were made in workshops in Grantham, Sleaford, Boston, and then later in Stamford and Bourne. They were distributed and sold all over the Midlands and the North. Their style is distinct to the county and examples can still be found today in good condition, in auctions and antique shops.

Previous to this, in the eighteenth century, the simple rush seated ladderback chair had superseded the stool in country households. Lincolnshire produced large numbers of these chairs, with the centre of manufacture around Louth, Spilsby and Alford, extending later to Boston and Spalding. It is rare for good examples to have survived to the present day.

William Sergeant has been collecting and researching Lincolnshire’s chairs and is recognised as the country’s leading authority on the subject.  On the evening of Tuesday 10th October he will be giving a talk on the subject, and on Saturday 14th October  there will be an open day chair surgery: the aim of which is to try and find well provenanced local chairs, in the hope of establishing exactly which patterns were made in the towns of Spilsby, Alford, Caistor and Louth.

Journal back issues (II)

Given the longstanding storage problems of back issues of the journal, and bearing in mind that all journals up to the year 2009 have now been digitized (with 2010 to 2014 to be added shortly), it was decided at the last Council meeting that the bulk of all back issues up to the year 2009 should be destroyed. A working stock of the more recent editions will be retained for sale. If any member would like old copies of the Journal up to 2009, please contact Jenny Cowking at publications.rfs@gmail.com before the end of October.

Regional Furniture Journal articles now available online

The sharp eyed amongst you may have noticed that we have gradually been making past Journal articles available on the Journal back issues page of this site.

Volumes 1 -23 (1989 -2009) – that’s 20 years of regional furniture research articles  – are now accessible to read and download for study and enjoyment. Included are all the special and themed issues of the Journal.

We hope to publish the 2010-2014 volumes shortly. The current issue (Volume 30 – 2016) of Regional Furniture is, of course, only available to RFS members, but the back issues will be published on this website after a three year delay.

Happy reading!

 

 

 

Day school: ‘House and Home’ 25th March

RFS members may be interested to know that there are still places available for the  Yorkshire Vernacular Buildings Study Group’s day school on  Saturday 25th March, looking at how Yorkshire houses were used and furnished in the seventeenth century. The venue is the Headingley campus of Leeds Beckett University.

Speakers include Regional Furniture Society members Peter Brears and Peter Thornborow.
Further details about the event and booking details may be found on the events page of the YVBSG website.