Regional Furniture Society: Notice of Annual General Meeting 2021

While we are confident that the Annual Conference will go ahead in Lincolnshire in June, fewer have understandably applied this year and as we revive last year’s arrangements, there may be formal restrictions on numbers allowed at some venues. It all points to a need for flexibility in the Conference programme.

To simplify matters, we have decided to hold the AGM by Zoom again this year. It means we can go ahead regardless of any Conference constraints. Whether this is repeated will depend on members’ preferences on AGM format for the future.

The Annual General Meeting of the Regional Furniture Society will be held by Zoom at 6:30 p.m. on Monday 14 June.

Members who have supplied their email address to Di Halliwell Membership Secretary will receive a personal email notification giving Zoom details and attaching the Agenda and the Minutes of the last AGM and the Annual Report and Accounts for 2020.

Members who have not yet provided their email address and who wish to take part in the AGM should email the Secretary on: justj2r2@gmail.com

The Secretary will then forward to those members the access code for the Zoom meeting and the Agenda and the Minutes of the last AGM and the Annual Report & Accounts for 2020.

The Annual Report and Accounts for 2020 are also available on the website; any member requiring a paper version should send an A4 self-addressed envelope to the Secretary, requesting a copy.

Jeremy Rycroft

Secretary

From Revival to Reform – BIFMO/FHS event

BIFMO-FHS is running a short online course about nineteenth century furniture next Wednesday 21 April 2021 entitled

‘From Revival to Reform’. The event will run from 4pm – 7pm(BST)  and will comprise five presentations which are as follows:

Dr Megan Aldrich  – Setting the Stage for British Furniture in the Nineteenth century

Dr Sydney Ayers – Wright & Mansfield: The Adam Revival in Furniture and Interiors

Christopher Payne  – Examining contemporary sources: The Furniture Gazette 1872-1896.

Helena Pickup  – Useful and Beautiful: The furniture of William Morris

Matthew Winterbottom  – William Burges’s Great Bookcase in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.

Tickets via Eventbrite: for more details please see the Furniture History Society website

The History of Dutch Painted Furniture: 7 April 2021 at 6 p.m: now on RFS YouTube channel

The Regional Furniture Society was delighted to present a Zoom lecture by Hans Piena, Conservator of the Dutch Open Air Museum, Arnhem on Wednesday, 7th April at 18:00 hrs GMT on ‘The History of Dutch Painted Furniture. The lecture is now available on the RFS YouTube channel.

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Hans is well-known to members of the Regional Furniture Society. He recently joined our Shropshire conference where he delivered a fascinating talk on the history of Dutch rush-seated chairs, but we first met at Arnhem on our study tour of Dutch painted furniture in 2001.
His new 50 minute presentation, recently delivered at The Rijksmuseum, is the result of his 14 years of research since our visit. It covers the history of Dutch painted furniture which was produced by members of guilds known as ‘witwerkers’. ‘Wit’, meaning white, refers to the pieces in their initial unpainted state. Witwerkers developed great skill in decorating these pieces in faux exotic veneers or with painted stories from the Bible, in imitation of a host of fashionable hardwood items such as cabinets, wardrobes, chests of drawers and tables. It is usually assumed that painted furniture was a rural craft, but Hans will explain that witwerkers emerged in the cities – the first witwerkers’ guild founded in Amsterdam in the early seventeenth century. During the course of the seventeenth century, the influx of immigrants and rise of the middle classes led to a boom in the market for inexpensive painted furniture and the development of a marketing and distribution network into the distant reaches of the Netherlands and overseas as far as Russia and beyond, including, of course, those bow corner cabinets to England that are so familiar.  Witwerk evolved to reflect the changes of the finest furniture through the late 18th and early 19th century, sometimes with humorous consequences. 

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

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.

Programme 

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 was free and open to non-members after registration. The day was recorded.

Forthcoming FHS lectures

The FHS have kindly sent us a list of their forthcoming talks:

Wednesday 17 March 2021 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. BIFMO half-day on-line course Georgian Furniture Makers

Sunday 21 March 2021 at 7 p.m. BIFMO lecture with Amy Lim: ‘Female Patrons of Furniture in Late Stuart England’

Wednesday 24 March 2021 at 5.30 p.m. FHS seminar on ‘Pattern books, early trade catalogues and many other rarities’: the John Evan Bedford Library of Furniture History, Brotherton Library, University of Leeds 

Sunday 28 March 2021 at 7 pm. FHS lecture with Adriana Turpin. ‘From Bond Street to The Breakers: Dealers and the Development of the American Market for English Eighteenth-century Furniture c. 1900-1930’

Wednesday 14 April 2021at 5.30 p.m.  FHS seminar on Conservation ‘Into the Workshop: Furniture restoration/conservation’, chaired by Dr Tessa Murdoch & Yannick Chastang 

Sunday 25 April 2021 at 7 p.m,  FHS lecture on ‘Malachite, Lapis-Lazuli, Verre églomisé, and Marquetry: Russian Furniture at Hillwood’, Wilfried Zeisler, Curator of 19th century Art, Hillwood Estate Museum & Gardens on Hillwood’s Russian furniture

Sunday 16 May 2021 at 7 p.m. BIFMO lecture with Laura Microulis, tbc

AGM Reminder

You will already have seen a post indicating that the AGM has had to be arranged as a Zoom meeting. It indicated that you should contact Jeremy Rycroft on justj2r2@gmail.com to obtain the code and password. This arrangement stops non-members accessing and interfering with the meeting. We need more members to join the AGM to reach our quorum. Please email Jeremy to get the meeting reference code and log on Saturday 24 October at 2:30 p.m., if you are able to. You will be sent a copy of the Agenda, last year’s AGM minutes and some guidance on using Zoom. If you have questions, please send these in in advance to Jeremy Rycroft too, if possible, so someone is ready to answer them.