£4 Million Restoration: Historic House Rescue

Tomorrow, Wednesday 16th January at 9pm, More 4 is broadcasting  the first of two programmes called the £4 Million Restoration, which may be of interest to members. It documents the restoration of a Landmark Trust farmhouse in the Black Mountains, dating from c 1400. A new dating technique has been used which is claimed to work on timber previously undateable by conventional methods.

Further information is available in this article in The Guardian: newspaper: Welsh farmstead is rare medieval hall house, experts confirm and the programme details can be found here: Historic House Rescue.

Spring 2019 Newsletter

The Spring 2019 edition (No.70) of the RFS Newsletter is now available to members. It features reports of recent Society events and a number of  illustrated articles on regional furniture:cover rfs newsletter spring 2019

  • Letter from America – Daniel Ackermann
  • An unrecorded medieval chest at St Mary’s church, Horsham – Chris Pickvance
  • Medieval chests in Kent – Chris Pickvance
  • The Landkey Parish Table purchased by the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon – Alison Mills
  • Joseph Newton’s Windsor chair advertisements, 1725 and 1729 – Julian Parker
  • Windsor chairs at Newstead Abbey – Julian Parker
  • John Bray of Bourne, Lincolnshire, Windsor chair-maker – William Sergeant and Julian Parker
  • The myth of the patinated Windsor chair – Bob Parrott
  • A caned library chair by John Syers at Broughton Hall, North Yorkshire – Brian Crossley
  • A little wider please: a barber-surgeon’s chair – Jeremy Bate
  • Fashionable furniture in Haverfordwest: a card table by William Owen – Sarah Medlam
  • Unlocking the Geffrye – Emma Hardy

Additional reports:

  • Lawrence Neal, chair-maker: when is a chair more than a chair?
  • Sitting Firm
  • The rush-seated chair: a celebration of past, present and future
  • V&A Dundee: The Scottish Design Galleries

The Newsletter is published twice a year, and is one of the benefits of RFS membership. A full list of articles in previous editions can be found here: Newsletter research articles

Dates for your diary: 2019 RFS Events

Members organising their 2019 diary may wish to note the RFS Events Programme for the forthcoming Spring / Summer.

Full details and booking forms will appear in the Spring newsletter in late January.

Saturday 9 March 2019 Research in Progress: The Regional Chair, Conway Hall, Central London

Tuesday 26 March 2019  – A visit to a member’s collection in Soho, London

Monday 13 May 2019 – The Pepys Library and Kettles Yard, Cambridge

Wednesday 10 – Sunday 14 July 2019 – The Annual Conference, Shropshire.

Thursday 5 September 2019 – A private visit to Oak House, West Bromwich.

Volunteer Opportunity at V&A

We have had the following request from the Department of Furniture, Textiles and Fashion at the V&A. Please respond directly to the email or phone number given below rather than to the RFS.

Would any member be interested in volunteering to help maintain the library and research files in the Furniture and Woodwork section at the V&A?  We need help rationalising our research papers, and accessioning and auditing existing books.  If you live in the London area and would be interested in offering time on a regular basis, please contact Kate Hay, Department of Furniture, Textiles and Fashion, k.hay@vam.ac.uk or 0207 942 2292.

Autumn 2018 Newsletter

RFS NL 69 Berkely cover
The latest RFS Newsletter out now and available to members. There are several interesting notes in this Autumn edition:

  • Letter from America by Daniel Ackermann
  • A Forest chair in Colonial America by Bob Parrott
  • Darvel chairs: J. McKellar, a new maker by Crissie White
  • 16th-century panelling and a canopy from the Neptune Inn, Ipswich by Liz Hancock

The Newsletter  includes two additional notes by curators discussing objects in their collections:

  • The Guardian’s chair from Leah Mellors of the Ripon Museum Trust and
  • A Warwickshire Press Cupboard, by Rosalyn Sklar at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

There are also reports on recent events, featuring the February meeting at the V&A on New thinking about 16th-century furniture, with summaries of the papers by Chris Pickvance, Megan Wheeler, Michael Pearce, Nick Humphrey and Yannick Chastang. Notes on the Glasgow conference on Charles Rennie Mackintosh include a summary of this year’s Christopher Gilbert Memorial Lecture by David Jones on Scottish vernacular sources for Mackintosh’s furniture designs.

RFS visit to two chairmaking workshops in Warwickshire, Tuesday October 30th

Now Fully Booked!

The first members’ event this Autumn is to Lawrence Neal’s workshop and Dave Green’s Sitting Firm company.

Lawrence Neal is the only remaining maker of rush-seated chairs with a direct line of apprenticeship to Philip Clissett.   Many of Lawrence’s chairs were designed by Ernest Gimson who took the Clissett tradition forward.  Gimson’s aim was to prove that well designed and skilfully made chairs can be produced by village craftsmen and be comparable with the best work of the old chairmakers. The combination of English woodland timber and rushes create a unique, light but strong and lasting chair, with an honest unassuming beauty.  Looking forward to retirement and concerned of the future of the tradition, Lawrence has, with the help of the Heritage Crafts Association, secured funding from a private benefactor for two apprentices to learn the craft before moving the workshop to the Scottish Borders.

Dave Green founded Sitting Firm in 1989 with the aim of producing fine quality traditional Windsor chairs for the retail and export markets.   As the fashion for traditional furniture declined his business has evolved to become a maker of short runs of innovative modern Windsors designed by leading international architects and furniture designers – many for specific buildings . One of his most recent commissions was to provide the chairs for the new entrance and café of Kettles Yard in Cambridge.

Cost for the day £15. Numbers are limited and available to RFS members, their guests and bursaries only. Refreshments are not included but we will find somewhere to lunch together.  Book by 15th October.  You may print off the booking form here: Booking form which must be posted (address is given on the booking form) and accompanied by a cheque.