What would your 16th/17th century social status have been?

A bit of lockdown amusement: a group of Early Modernists are engaged on project examining and writing about the everyday cultural lives of the middling sort 1560-1650. They have come up with a Social Status Calculator across the various statuses from ‘new gentry’ to ‘dependent poor’, with some biographies and information about real people in those days.

There’s a piece about furniture by Chris Pickvance too!

Claudia Kinmonth: Irish Country Furniture and Furnishings 1700-2000 – update

The second print run of Claudia Kinmonth’s book, Irish Country Furniture and Furnishings 1700-2000 (Cork University Press, November 2020) is in the shops. If anyone wants a signed copy, request it directly from Claudia (ckkinmonth@gmail.com), otherwise request CUP to post out a copy (the business postal rate to the UK is probably cheaper). Copies are €39 or £35 each. For more information about her publications see www.claudiakinmonth.ie Claudia says: Cork University Press confirm that the 20% discount can still apply (off £35) but buyers must quote the code ICF. Buyers can email to maureen.fitzgerald@ucc.ie to have a discounted copy sent out. She may have some signed copies left.

East European chest, probably Romanian but possibly Hungarian, needs new home

This painted East European chest, probably Romanian but possibly Hungarian, is in need of a new home. It is 3ft 3in wide, 1ft 10in deep and 2ft 9in high (99cm x 56cm x 84cm). Members who went on the Transylvanian trip in 2012 will remember seeing similar examples. This type of chest was still being made in the 19th and 20th centuries. 
The owner, Jill Robson, would be happy to pass it on as a gift to a suitable home. She does not want it to go back into the trade.
Any member interested in acquiring the chest should contact Jill Robson on 01433 620350.

Research in Progress: New Thinking about Medieval Furniture 13 March 2021 via Zoom

The next meeting in the series of Research in Progress meetings will take place on 13 March 2021 as a Zoom meeting. As with the previous two themed meetings, (Sixteenth-century Furniture and The Regional Chair), speakers will present current research from a variety of perspectives.


10.00 Introduction (Liz Hancock, RFS Newsletter Editor)

Morning session (Chair: Chris Pickvance) 

10.15. Agnès Bos (University of St Andrews)  ‘A Reappraisal of the ‘Medieval’ Arconati-Visconti Dressoir at the Louvre’) Agnès Bos is a Lecturer in Art History at the University of St Andrews. She was a curator at the Louvre from 2006 to 2016 specialising in decorative arts from the late middle ages to the 17th century, with a focus on furniture, tapestries and textiles. In 2019 she published the catalogue raisonné of the Medieval and Renaissance furniture of the Louvre. For her articles see Agnès Bos | University of St Andrews – Academia.edu

11.00 Cécile Lagane (Centre Michel de Boüard /CRAHAM, Caen), ‘Evolution and Transformation of Furniture in its Architectural Environment: the Armoires of Bayeux (Normandy) and Aubazine (Limousin)’. Cécile’s doctoral thesis on Medieval furniture and furnishings from 500-1300 will be published shortly. For her articles see www.academia.edu

11.45 Discussion

12.00 Nick Humphrey (Furniture, Textiles and Fashion Dept., Victoria and Albert Museum,
London), ‘A Fifteenth-century Desk-cupboard at the Victoria and Albert Museum’. Nick is the curator responsible for pre-1700 furniture, woodwork and leatherwork and was involved in creating the British Galleries (2001), the Medieval and Renaissance galleries (2009), the Dr Susan Weber (Furniture) Gallery (2012), and the Europe galleries 1600-1815 (2015). His most recent publication revisits the museum’s most famous piece of furniture, the Great Bed of Ware; current research includes cypress wood chests and Latin-American lacquer.

12.45 Jens Kremb (Independent scholar, Bonn), ‘The Chest of Drawers: a Late Medieval Piece of Furniture?’  His doctoral thesis about painted tabletops in the late Middle Ages, was published as Bemalte Tischplatten des Spätmittelalters (Böhlau Verlag, 2015). He has created a research initiative on medieval furniture (www.inimm.de) and his articles are on www.jkremb.academia.edu

1.30 Discussion

1.45 Break

Afternoon session (Chair: Nick Humphrey)

2.15 Chris Pickvance (Chairman, RFS), ‘A Closer Look at a Group of English Clamped Chests from 1250-1350: Timber, Construction and Decoration’. Chris has been researching medieval chests for over ten years using dendrochronology.  His articles have appeared in Regional Furniture, The Antiquaries Journal and archaeological journals; see www.researchgate.net

3.00 Noah Smith (Scouloudi Fellow, Institute for Historical Research), ‘The ‘Courtrai chest’ at New College, Oxford: Iconography and Materiality’. This controversial chest, a focus of Noah’s research on Flemish medieval art, has been viewed both as a fake and a Belgian national treasure. This paper will explore the material and art historical aspects of the chest, addressing its potential provenance and suggesting a new iconographic reading of its frontispiece. Noah is in the final year of his PhD at the University of Kent, and has work forthcoming in several publications. 

3.45 Rachel Sycamore (MRes student in Medieval Archaeology, Worcester University), ‘Dug-out Church Chests in Herefordshire and Worcestershire’. Rachel is in the third and final year of her Master’s degree. Her research focuses on dug-out church chests and has used dendrochronology to date four in the two counties so far. Her paper will discuss the construction methods, ironwork and physical characteristics of examples, comparing and contrasting those which have been dated.

4.30 Discussion

4.45 Close

The event is free and open to non-members, but registration is necessary. Please email Jeremy Bate, RFS Events Organizer events.rfs@gmail.com. The last date for registration is Thursday 11 March. Zoom Meeting Invitations will be sent on 12 March. The waiting room will be open from 9.30 on 13 March. The day will be recorded.

Furniture History Society forthcoming lectures

Members may be interested in the following FHS forthcoming lectures. Last year the FHS very kindly made their talks available to RFS members free of charge.

This year these talks will only be free to FHS members who will receive the zoom links automatically the week before. Non-member tickets will be priced £5 and will be available through the events email so if you would like to watch please apply to events@furniturehistorysociety.org. Further details may be found here.

31 Jan             BIFMO: Eleanor Quince, Principal Teaching Fellow in Modern British History at the                            University of Southampton: ‘From the provinces to the capital: Gillows of Lancaster and London’

14 Feb             FHS:  ‘Arts and Crafts in the Digital Age’ Luke Hughes in conversation with Aidan                            Walker, author of ‘Furniture in Architecture- The Work of Luke Hughes’

21 Feb            FHS: Dr. Rebecca Tilles, Associate Curator of 18th Century French & Western European                  Fine and Decorative Art, Hillwood Estate Museum & Gardens. ‘Highlights from Hillwood: Marjorie Merriweather Post’s taste for 18th-Century European Furniture’

Lecture Series: Seminar in Palaeography & Manuscript Studies 2021, Bodleian Libraries, Zoom on Mondays at 2.15pm (GMT)

Members might like to know about this series of lectures from the Bodleian.

Meetings will take place online via Zoom on Mondays at 2.15pm (GMT) in weeks 1, 3, 5, and 7. Original manuscripts will be shown. Registration is required. E-mail: bookcentre@bodleian.ox.ac.uk . Your message must be received by noon on the Friday before the seminar (or register for the whole series by noon, Friday 15 January).

Week 3 (1 February 2021)
Bodleian and John Rylands curators
Newly acquired medieval book coffers at the Bodleian and the John Rylands Libraries

Week 5 (15 February 2021)
Adam Whittaker (Birmingham City University)
Medieval music theory in Bodleian manuscripts

Week 7 (1 March 2021)
Marc Smith (École des chartes)
Late medieval writing models: contextualizing MS. Ashmole 789