A presentation of the Burrell Furniture Collection, re-opening March 2022 – Monday 7th February at 6:00 p.m – Laura Bauld, Burrell Project Curator, Ed Johnson, Curator of Mediaeval and Renaissance Art, and Lindsay Gordon, Furniture Conservator, Glasgow Museums 

We are delighted to invite RFS members to a unique preview of the newly refurbished Burrell Collection, Glasgow, due to reopen this March having been closed for many years.  The re-ordered museum will create a much-improved display and interpretation of the collection of over 500 furniture items donated in 1944 by Glaswegian shipping magnate and collector Sir William Burrell and his wife Constance.   The collection includes English, Welsh, Scottish and continental pieces.  Laura, Ed and Lindsay’s talk will offer a behind-the-scenes exploration of the Burrell by curators and conservators, revealing the new methods of interpretation developed for the displays of furniture within the galleries. 

This event is for RFS members. To receive the link to the Zoom meeting, please apply to events.rfs@gmail.com by 16:00 Sunday 6th February. This event will not be available on YouTube for future viewing. 

Spring Events and Annual Conference

The following events are now available for booking via the website or by application to events.rfs@gmail.com:

Visit to Ercol Factory, Princes Risborough, followed by the re-opened Wycombe Museum, Thursday 24th March 2022.

Please note that we are now fully subscribed for the Ercol factory visit but are able to offer places to those wishing to join us for lunch and at the Wycombe Chair Museum and an afternoon devoted to their collection. The fee is the same (£20) since Ercol are kindly not charging us. 

Leeds and West Yorkshire Carved Oak Furniture of the 17th century, Thursday 12th May 2022. UPDATE: Please note that this event is now fully booked

Somerset Annual Conference – Wednesday 22nd to Sunday 26th June 2022. UPDATE: Please note that the Annual Conference is now fully booked.

Please book by 1 March 2022.

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.

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.

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.

Society Events for 2020 – UPDATED for cancellations and postponements

Regional Furniture Society 2020 events were open for booking, but some have had to be cancelled or postponed because of coronavirus risk

Forms are available on this website for members to print off (links to be found within individual events below). These forms will also be included in the Spring newsletter which is scheduled to arrive with members in February. All events have a finite number of places so to be sure of a place you may consider booking early.   The website will be updated when an event is fully subscribed or if an itinerary is substantially altered.

Some events may ask for a specific date on your cheque. We sometimes retain cheques for events and bank them together shortly before the event taking place. Cheques are only valid for six months, so please follow the instructions on dating and provide an individual cheque for each event.  If you do not possess a cheque book,  we may accept transfer of payment into  our bank account by agreement with the events organiser, but this needs to be arranged at least 2 months ahead of the event.

Leeds and West Yorkshire carved oak furniture of the 17th century.

Thursday 23th April 2020 – NOW CANCELLED because of coronavirus risk – to be rescheduled in Autumn 2020 or Spring 2021. No cheques have been banked.

Peter Brears has generously agreed to lead a one-day study tour of furniture of the  key houses and churches which featured in his recent article in our 2019 journal. 

Departing from Leeds station at 10:00 by coach, we will visit Shibden Hall, Halifax, and  lunch at the 17th c. Shibden Mill Inn set within a deep fold of the picturesque Shibden Valley.  We will then visit Oakwell Hall on the outskirts of Leeds, followed by St John’s church in the city centre, which we were unable to access on our Chippendale study day two years ago.  It is a short walk from St John’s to the station.

Trains from Kings Cross take about 2hr 15 mins.  Consider staying an extra day at one of the great range of hotels in Leeds and visiting Temple Newsam or Harewood House.

Cost: £60, including lunch.  Applications to be received by March 9th.

 Annual Conference, Lincoln

NOW POSTPONED from Monday 22nd – Friday 26th June 2020 provisionally to Wednesday 23rd to Sunday 27th June 2021

UPDATE: this event has, alas, had to be postponed because of the coronavirus risk: no cheques had been banked at the date of cancellation.

The text below is the original text relating to the now-postponed conference. It will be updated when the position becomes clearer.

 The date of this year’s conference has changed from the date posted in the RFS autumn Newsletter, and the Friday programme appearing in the Spring Newsletter has been amended since going to print.

 Lincoln is a city of two parts. The cathedral and castle share the heights and the commercial hub with an earlier history on the river below, linked by the aptly-named Steep Street.  It is a city enjoying a renaissance, peered by modern industry and two dynamic universities.  We will be staying in the high town at the Bishop Grosseteste University, specialising in mature student courses, where all rooms have small (4 foot) double beds which can be made up for single or double occupancy. Couples may decide to share a room or book two rooms.  There is ample car parking. Lincoln is served by a branch line from Newark North Gate station on the fast east coast route.   The university is a short taxi-ride from Lincoln station and buses connect it with the city centre.

 Monday 22nd June will find many delegates arriving at Lincoln and choosing to stay Monday night for an 8:30 start on Tuesday morning.  A package of: 2-course refectory supper, bed & breakfast may be booked on the application form.

 We have arranged an optional private visit on Monday afternoon to the  Elizabethan Doddington Hall, just to west of the city.  The house has remained in the same family for 400 years, and contains an interesting and varied collection of furniture and pictures imaginatively presented with the current owner’s contemporary ceramic collection. Whilst the house will not be open to the public on that day, two cafes and a restaurant will be available for us to lunch on arrival. (not included in the cost of the visit). Members arriving by train to Lincoln may take an affordable taxi to Doddington and will be offered lifts to the university at the end of our visit. This Monday event is priced separately on the booking form.

 Tuesday 23rd.  The start of the main conference, will be devoted to the city of Lincoln,  starting at the cathedral: considered by some, the finest gothic church in Europe.  We will visit the Wren Library containing 15th c. reading desks, where William Sergeant will introduce us to their collection of early forest chairs probably by Joseph Newton of Fenton alongside those from his own collection brought together for comparison for the first time.  Then the opportunity of a roof tour, taking in the bell-ringing chamber, the triforium, and the spectacular roof space retaining much of its original timber. 

The west front of the cathedral faces the castle, where we will visit the the old prison with its unique 19th c. chapel, designed to enable the prisoners to see the minister but not their fellow inmates, and the new subterranean space created for the Magna Carta. After lunch we will visit the Usher Gallery (currently under threat of closure) founded by jeweller and watchmaker James Usher (1845-1921) to study his collection of 18th. c. locally made clocks including some rare examples with wooden movements.  Fitter members may walk down Steep Street through the commercial centre and over the only surviving medieval bridge with shops on it, to St Mary’s Guildhall, one of the lost medieval palaces of England, with a  much older surprise recently exposed beneath the floor. Those choosing to remain in the upper city may  explore The Collection – a new museum of the county’s history in art and artefacts, well-placed opposite the Usher Gallery.

 Wednesday 24th:  north by coach to visit Gainsborough Old Hall, containing the largest collection of 17th. c. furniture in the county.  Then to Epworth church and rectory (birthplace of John Wesley) with its eclectic collection of chairs and after lunch, a private visit to Scawby Hall, home of the Nelthorpe family for over 400 years, guided by Kristin Nelthorpe.

 Thursday 25th:  we travel by coach to the attractive market town of Louth to view Sudbury’s hutch, given to the church in 1502. Then to a rare ‘mud and stud’ cottage near Horncastle, where owner Andrew, will demonstrate traditional thatching, while his wife, Ruth will guide us around their home containing furniture collected by Andrew’s mother from local farm sales. Then, pausing to picnic at the Tudor brick Tattershall Castle, we will travel south for a private visit to a 17th c. ‘artisan baroque’  manor house to study the owner’s collection of oak furniture.

 The huge county of Lincolnshire has a glut of fascinating churches, some with carved screens and many retaining their  distinctive medieval chests with spectacular Gothic tracery. On Wednesday and Thursday we will endeavour to fit in brief stops to explore a number of these churches, and a real surprise: a Gothic church furnished in the finest mahogany.

 On Friday morning 26th,  after breakfast we will depart the university by our own transport to Navenby  ( 20mins. south of Lincoln), to visit the unmodernised cottage occupied by  Mrs. Smith until her death at 102 years, which has just reopened following conservation of the roof.

 Friday afternoon 26th, an optional  visit, for a limited number, to  a guided tour of a fascinating collection of family portraits in Fulbeck spanning 400 years ,a few miles south of Navenby.   Friday Lunch is not included but there are pubs serving food in Navenby and Fulbeck.

 Those members departing by train, who wish to attend one or both of the Friday events will be offered lifts and delivered late morning or late afternoon to Newark station, convenient for onward travel. Please indicate on the booking form if you would like a lift.

 The Furniture Surgery and AGM will take place on Wednesday or Thursday evenings after dinner.

 Costs:   Main conference, including bed, breakfast, all meals except some coffee and tea breaks, admissions and coach travel on two days from Tuesday morning 23rd June to Friday 26th June, departing after lunch : residential, single occupancy £480, double occupancy  £420 per person,  non-residential £310.

 Additional costs:   Monday 22nd June. Refectory two course supper, bed & breakfast; single occupancy: £83, double occupancy: £65 per person  

Monday 22nd June: guided visit to Doddington Hall:  £13

Friday 26th June: p.m. visit to a private portrait collection: £10

Lancaster

Friday 2nd October 2020: Update: not yet postponed or cancelled; update will be posted as soon as a decision is made.

 Celebrating the reprieve of Lancaster’s fine selection of museums from threatened closure, and the town’s celebrated connection with  the Gillow family we will be visiting The Judges’ Lodgings, The City Museum, Lancaster Castle, including the Grand Jury room not usually shown, and Lancaster Priory – all within a compact radius, and visit the Maritime Museum down on the river. There will be the opportunity to lunch as a group in one of several new restaurant/cafes springing up in the town – to be selected shortly before the event.  Those planning a longer stay, may like to plan to stay at the Art Deco Midland Hotel at nearby Morecambe.

 Cost of the day £25, not including lunch.  Please note the instruction on the booking form for dating your cheque.