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Previous to this, in the eighteenth century, the simple rush seated ladderback chair had superseded the stool in country households.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.

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.

Regional Furniture Society Events for Spring & Summer 2017 – the full list!

The full schedule of events for Spring/Summer 2017 is now available in the current Newsletter and online here on our Events page.  On the Events page you can also find and download the booking forms for both the Conference in Suffolk, in July, and all of the fascinating one-day events. Book now to avoid disappointment!

For further information and enquiries about RFS events and bookings please contact: events.rfs@gmail.com.

 

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 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.