Visit to Ercol factory

Members may wish to know that a tour of the Ercol factory, in Princes Risborough, organised by Jeremy Bate, will be advertised in the forthcoming RFS Newsletter. The factory also features in the BBC’s ‘Inside the Factory’ on BBC2 tomorrow evening, Saturday 15 January 2022 at 6 p.m. So if you want a sneak preview, it’s available via the BBC iPlayer here.

The diary of Eimert Papenborg (1826-1899)

Members who missed Hans Piena’s talk about the diary of Eimert Papenborg may catch up on the RFS YouTube channel here.

I have indexed the talk as follows:

Hans Piena, Conservator/Curator, Nederlands Openluchtmuseum (Holland Open Air Museum) 0:00 Introduction to the diary of Eimert Papenborg re-discovered 1969 and then 2013 1:13 Historical context – Beethoven; The Beagle; aftermath of Napoleon; England a world power 1:58 213 pages sometimes 3 times overwritten and parts in secret code and faded 2:29 8 years of research and deciphering leading to publication in 10 chapters ISBN:978-90-823607-5-2 3:19 Achterhoek region 3:44 local map of farm site near Zieuwent 4:29 Louis Apol c. 1880 Country Road 5:07 yearly floods; Drinking Cows Willem Roelofs 1884 5:39 Jan Holtrup c. 1940 Winter afternoon in the Achterhoek – low walled huts with rye straw roof 6:02 Oldest picture of the farm 6:22 Louis Apol Looking for wood 1873-75 in Winter 6:42 Papenborg’s oldest son and family – Catholic village in Protestant country – distinctive gold crosses worn by the women 7:33 pig meat and fat eaten never beef: cows were for butter 7:56 Herman Johannes van Der Weele 1852-1930 Ploughing with ox – oxen were the tractors 8:10 main crops potatoes and rye 8:31 8 old apple varieties 8:54 Papenborg fell in love with youngest daughter of richest local farmer 1851-52 – took nearly 9 years to get permission to marry 9:55 Albert Neuhuys 1844-1914 Changing diapers – interior of family house kettle over fire 10:28 Bernhardt Winter 1905-06 women flax processing, ladder back chairs 10:51 linen cabinet – linen was most valuable item in Papenborg’s inventory 11:46 H J ten Noever Bakker 1899 Pedlar with wicker back basket selling chickens and tobacco to woman who had the money 12:22 Otto van Tussenbroek 1905 Churning butter – thrice monthly market 5-8kg butter 18 km away – profitable for cash 13:16 House interior Hendrikus Johannes Melis 1860-1923 – 3 legged table, jointed stool, cradle, books, paintings, Bible 14:06 kettle wrongly restored, hand-blown glass bottle, clock c 1860, fire tongs, stoneware jug for lamp oil 15:06 isolated, no doctors nearby, recipes in diary for medicinal herbs, no fertilisers more diversity 15:57 Anton Mauve 1838-88 Chopping wood – wood for fire, utensils, furniture, carts, barns, houses – pit saw for boards 16:30 van Der Weele 1852-1930 Oxcart with wood 17:00 crops not enough to make ends meet – charcoal production 17:34 September 1848-67 charcoal burning – alder, birch, ash, poplar, oak – tree planting to re-grow 18:58 sold to foundry, 40 km away north 8 hours each way trip Foundry 1900 Herman Heijenbrock, chalk pastels on black paper 20:38 cradle from basketmaker 21:09 Dutch willow cradle 21:28 Tilt top 3 legged round table 1851 22:08 stone cobbled floor on parents’ farm 22:23 3 legged chair ex John Boram collection 3 legs for stability Papenborg adopted tiled floor in own house and 4 legged ladder back chairs 23:15 1853 oak bureau ordered, stained and coloured like mahogany retrieved from under tons of straw and thoroughly cleaned which unfortunately removed the finish and it was then waxed 25:29 1786 oak trunk descended from Eimert Papenborg’s parents 26:06 Hendrikus Papenborg, master carpenter & cabinet maker of Zieuwent 1863-1925 27:16 Floor plan with cabinet workshop amongst ox and pig stalls 28:17 Family descended cabinet on chest made by Hendrikus Papenborg with dove and serpent tableau. Panels replaced by glass and scraped but no longer authentic finish. 29:45 but Louis XVI brasses in the workshop 30:04 cabinet details showing paint remains in rebates and 3 dowels 31:01 Another cabinet by Hendrikus Papenborg, completely original, inscribed in pencil ‘Dit kambinet gemaakt in het jaar 1892 Zieuwent den 19 maart feestdag van de H. Joseph H Papenborg Timmerman te Zieuwent’ This cabinet was made in the year 1892 on 19 March, the feast day of St Joseph H. Papenborg, carpenter in Zieuwent. Rosewood imitation, with gold and silver carving suggesting brasses, mimicking Dutch 18th century cabinet e.g. 1750 Amsterdam and 140 years later Papenborg was imitating it. Anything to escape the rustic look! 33:50 onwards: questions and answers

Julian Parker

Website Editor

Tuesday 4th January 2022 at 6:00 p.m. Het Dagboek 1826-1888  (The Diary  1826-1888) – Hans Piena

Following his recent well-received on-line talk to the RFS:  Witwerk – The History of  Dutch Painted Furniture, Hans Piena, curator of the Open Air Museum at Arnhem (Nederlands Openluchtmuseum) will talk via Zoom about the diary he discovered some years ago in a safe on a farm, which he has just successfully published in Holland.  
It is the story of a lonely boy of two poor Dutch charcoal makers living in the middle of nowhere.  He falls in love with the only daughter of the richest farmer in the village and after many years of courtship marries her and slowly climbs the ladder of society to become a council member and church minister. The diary, which took many specialists eight years to decipher, records not only every day’s purchases including the furniture he ordered, but also gives a good picture of his business contacts  and even his coded musings on his love life.  Finally we will learn about his son who became a furniture maker, some of whose pieces survive. 

Hans Piena, Conservator, Nederlands Openluchtmuseum

This event is for RFS members: if you would like to receive the link to the Zoom meeting, please reply to events.rfs@gmail.com.

Chris Pickvance

We are very sorry to announce the death on 16 November 2021 of our former Chairman, Chris Pickvance, aged 77. Chris’s funeral will take place on 8 December 2021, at 2:40pm, at the Barham Crematorium, Canterbury Road (A260), Barham, Nr Canterbury, Kent CT4 6QU; 8.5 miles from Canterbury. It will be webcast, at the family’s request, so that people who cannot attend in person can follow it: the funeral will last 30-40 minutes. Members who wish to view the webcast are asked to email regionalfurnituresociety@gmail.com for the link.

Katy Pickvance would like to ask anyone who can, please, to donate in Chris’s name and memory to the Pilgrims Hospice, Canterbury  because it is an incredible place for ‘end of life care’, and needs help to continue its work.

Obituary

Chris was really quite a private person and although many of us in the RFS spent many hours on
study trips and in meetings with him, few I think were able to get very close to him. His sudden and
tragic death from oesophagus cancer, which we learn from his family was only discovered in
September this year, has left us feeling deprived of someone who contributed enormously to the
Society, partly as Chairman over the last 10 years and perhaps more significantly as an expert in
medieval chests.


This particular line of research grew from a more general interest in medieval and Renaissance
furniture and woodwork both in Britain and on the Continent. He led two wonderful study trips to
France in 2005 and 2011, the first to Brittany and the second to Paris and Burgundy. Both were
made special by his knowledge of the places, furniture and scholars we would encounter.
His personal study of medieval chests led him to many discoveries about these often neglected
ancient relics, tucked away in the corners of churches. By careful observation of structural details,
decorative carving and the ironwork of locks and straps, coupled with dendrochronology and diligent
comparison with the work of scholars abroad, he has tentatively reached a new level of
understanding about their origins and their place in medieval society. As an academic, he was
comfortable with the processes of publishing in peer-reviewed journals and lecturing to
knowledgeable audiences. His central research on chests is published in two articles, the first,
‘”Kentish Gothic” or imported? Understanding a group of early fifteenth century tracery-carved
medieval chests in Kent and Norfolk’, Archaeologia Cantiana, vol. 138 (2017); and the second, ‘The
Canterbury group of arcaded gothic early medieval chests: a dendrochronological and comparative
study’, The Antiquaries Journal, vol. 98 (2018). He also published numerous articles and reports in
the RFS Newsletter, which give insights into his broad understanding of the diversity of regional
furniture. He was a keen advocate of the Society’s Research in Progress Days, and in 2018 organised
a memorable day of lectures on 16th century furniture. In March this year he organised ‘New
Thinking about Medieval Furniture’, an online conference presenting current research from a variety
of perspectives. The event was free and attracted many non-members across Europe and America.
Shortly before his death Chris made a very generous donation of £10,000 to the Society to fund
bursaries for research into medieval chests, thus ensuring that his studies will be continued by
others, and extended across a wider geographical range than he was able to cover. Increasing
people’s awareness of the significance of such objects is surely the best way to see that they are
properly taken care of and treasured in the way that they deserve.

Chris Pickvance at the RFS Lincoln Conference, June 2021


Chris was quietly unassuming, never one to step easily into the limelight, but he led the Society well
during his chairmanship, reinforcing its purposes in research and publishing, and overseeing a
tightening of policies and governance which will stand us in good stead for many years to come. He has left an indelible legacy, and we will always be grateful for that, and we will remember him fondly
both as a friend and fellow traveller in the study of regional furniture.

David Dewing
President, Regional Furniture Society

FHS event: Furnishing Goldsmiths’ Hall by Michael Shrive 28 November 2021 at 7 p.m. 

RFS members are kindly invited by the FHS to ‘In the Richest and Most Costly Style’: Furnishing Goldsmiths’ Hall, 1834-5 by Michael  Shrive (Assistant Curator at Waddesdon Manor), Sunday, 28 November 2021, 19.00 (BST), 14.00 (ED).

Philip Hardwick (1792-1870), Design for the Court Drawing Room, West Elevation, c. 1830; pen-and-ink, pencil and watercolour on paper (Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths)
Home to the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, the Goldsmiths’ Hall in the heart of the City of London was designed by Philip Hardwick (1792-1870) and opened to great acclaim in 1835. The third building of its kind on the site, Hardwick also designed many of the furnishings and employed Thomas and George Seddon and William and Charles Wilkinson to execute the work. Despite some wartime losses, much of the furniture survives in situ and remains in use to the present day.  It is also one of the best documented commissions of its time, supplemented by a comprehensive archive including estimate sketchbooks, scale drawings and a complete series of accounts. This lecture will highlight previously unpublished material relating to the commission.

Michael Shrive is Assistant Curator at Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire (National Trust / Rothschild Collections) and currently sits on the Furniture History Society’s Events Committee. He recently contributed to the publications Jean-Henri Riesener: Cabinetmaker to Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette (2020) and Furniture History (2019). In 2016 he graduated with an MA in Decorative Arts and Historic Interiors from the University of Buckingham and his dissertation topic was the furnishing of Goldsmiths’ Hall. Formerly he was Curatorial Intern of Decorative Arts at Royal Collection Trust and also worked on the National Trust’s Furniture Research and Cataloguing Project.
 
This lecture is free to members. Non-members wishing to attend can pay for £5 for tickets here.

Attendees will be admitted from a waiting room from 18.45. Please make sure you are muted and your camera turned off.  Please note that for security reasons we will lock the meeting at 19.20, so make sure you have joined us by then.
 
We hope to see many of you on Sunday, 28 November.

For any queries, please email events@furniturehistorysociety.org.
This event is sponsored by
The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art.

Visit to the Museum of the Home (Geffrye) London and a private viewing of the Cotton Collection of English Regional Chairs – Wednesday 24 November 2021


The Geffrye Museum has undergone a number of re-inventions over the 90 years since its foundation as a museum devoted to the furniture industry in what was then the most heavily populated and deprived district of London.

It has just emerged from a major expansion with a new name: The Museum of the Home, which reflects its evolution from a museum devoted to furniture, to a broader remit revealing the way we live, and to reflect what home means to people of different backgrounds, circumstances, and cultures.
 
On arrival visitors first explore the new subterranean rooms with arresting displays before ascending to the familiar run of period rooms on the ground floor which will be decorated for the Winter Festival as celebrated by different cultures in London – Diwali, Hanukkah and Christmas Past.

An early curator of the Geffrye was Marjorie Quennell who believed that children would be inspired by learning our social history rather than the dates of monarchs and battles. Between 1918 and 1934 she published a series of books Everyday Things in England 1066-1900 illustrated by her architect husband. The series remained in print until 2000. There is a small display in the museum
about the Quennells whose illustrations perhaps influenced some of the delightful new murals on the ground floor of the museum. The museum is more than ever a great experience for children and adults alike.

We are invited to arrive from 11:00 with an un-guided tour of the public galleries. We may lunch across the courtyard at Molly’s Café housed in a former Victorian pub and regroup at 14:00 when The MoTH’s curator Louis Platman will present a ‘Round Britain” selection from the 40 chairs of the Cotton collection, many familiar from Bill Cotton’s books but out of sight for many years.

Windsor armchair by Marsh of Sleaford
Photo: © Dr B D Cotton

The visit is limited to just 10 RFS members since we will be entering non-public areas. There is no charge. Applications by email to Jeremy Bate either to his private email or to events.rfs@gmail.com. Places will be allocated in order of receipt.

From Tower House to Country House – The Art and Architecture of North-East Scotland, 12 to 18 June 2022

Craigevar

Now that’s a proper castle. Members may be interested in the next forthcoming tour from Wessex Fine Art Study Courses in June 2022, organised by Barbara Peacock.  Led by Dr David Jones, the tour will be based in Aberdeenshire and Moray.

A taster of the architectural delights: 

Foremost must be the great concentration of romantic turreted tower houses, dating from mediaeval times to the 16th century and known for their excitingly varied silhouettes and their rich Renaissance plasterwork and painted ceilings. Such are Crathes, Craigievar, Fyvie and Monymusk, built by the great Scottish lairds of the period. 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 restrained classical Palladian country house, with Adam Revival interiors furnished by the important Victorian firm of Wright and Mansfield.

The brochure and programme may be found here. Photographs and further details may be found here.

Research in Progress: New Thinking about Medieval Furniture 13 March 2021 now on RFS YouTube Channel

The latest meeting in the series of Research in Progress took place on 13 March 2021 via Zoom. As with the previous two themed meetings, (Sixteenth-century Furniture and The Regional Chair), speakers presented current research from a variety of perspectives. The sessions may be viewed on the RFS YouTube channel.