Exhibition of Lincolnshire Chairs, 8th – 18th September 2016

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Members will be interested to hear about an exhibition of the largest collection of Lincolnshire windsor and rush-seated chairs to be held at Belton House this September. This will be a fascinating chance to learn about fine local chair-making and the best local craftsmanship, with several talks by William Sergeant from the Lincolnshire Chair Museum.

There will be free entrance on Saturday 10th September to coincide with the National Heritage Open Day.

RFS Events this Autumn

There are two new events on the schedule for this Autumn.

Treasures of the North West, Friday 16 October

Visits have been arranged to Browsholme Hall and Stonyhurst College, both Grade I listed halls dating predominantly from the Elizabethan era. An optional visit to another North West property will be arranged for the morning of Saturday 17th, if there is interest. The cost will be £35 to include coffee and light lunch; if there is sufficient interest an additional visit will be arranged to another local property on the Saturday morning.

For full details please see the full listing on the Events page

Christopher Gilbert Lecture, `Local sensibilities in bench end carving in Devon and the West Country, 1480 – 1650′, Dr Todd Gray MBE,  7 November 2015

Dr Todd Gray is Research Fellow at Exeter University;  his lecture explores the use of design, principally Gothic and Renaissance, by English and continental craftsmen amidst the changing religious considerations of the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. The lecture will be held at the Geffrye Museum London and the cost is £10 to members.

For full details please see the full listing on the Events page

Masterclasses in Sitting, High Wycombe, April 17th 2015

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RFS members are invited to attend a free series of presentations by manufacturers, designers and historians to discuss High Wycombe’s famous history of bodging and the Windsor Chair.

Masterclasses in Sitting is a commission for the new Wye Dene development in High Wycombe. Taking as the starting point High Wycombe’s rich history as the centre for furniture production, public works proposes a project which uses ‘sitting’ as a way of relating. Connecting the new Wye Dene estate with High Wycombe, its past and future.

The talks will take place on  17th April 2015, 6pm at the Wrights Meadow Centre, Wrights Meadow Road Wycombe Marsh, High Wycombe, HP11 1SQ . No RSVP is needed, the event is free.
About the Speakers:
Speakers on the evening will be furniture historian Dr Bernard ‘Bill’ Cotton, artist craftsman Stuart King and professor in furniture Jake Kaner. Each will be giving a short presentation on them will be reflecting on the Chair industry the Windsor Chair in particular. public works will use the opportunity to discuss the proposal for the forthcoming Chair arch for High Wycombe 
Dr Bernard ‘Bill’ Cotton is a furniture historian who has pioneered the study of vernacular furniture in both the UK and in Countries where the British settled. He has travelled widely, often with his wife Gerry, to record the regional traditions of furniture made for the homes of working people , over a forty year period. His extensive archive is a major resource of design and social history information and his collection of some four hundred English regional chairs is now gifted to the Geffrye museum. His published work includes ‘The English Regional Chair’ (ACC. 1990 ).   More recently he has completed his major work  ‘Scottish Vernacular Furniture’ (Thames and Hudson. 2008  ) which for the first time identifies the chair and other furniture designs made there.
He was co founder, with Christopher Gilbert, of the Regional Furniture Society and is presently the society’s Emeritus President.
Jake Kaner is professor in furniture at Bucks New University. He has been involved with documenting the furniture industry through the curation of the High Wycombe Furniture Archive. Funding awarded form the arts and humanities research council supported the digitisation project which captured 16,000 images and text from the archive. The material covers the High Wycombe manufacturers, Ercol, Gomme (G-Plan) and Skull. The website that disseminates the material has been highly successful receiving an average of 100,000 hits per month since its launch in 2009. Currently Jake is working to digitise the William Birch archive in partnership with the Wycombe Museum. This material illustrates design books for art furniture that was made for Liberty’s of London between 1890 and 1910. A further project involving the designs of Ib Kofod-Larsen, a Danish designer who worked for G-Plan in the 1960s, involves creating computer based models of furniture that was never put into production.  Jake is also a trustee for Wycombe Heritage and Arts Trust.
Stuart King was born in the Buckinghamshire village of Holmer Green in 1942, and played as a child in the local Beech woods. The countryside and the trades and traditions of those that shaped it over centuries have always fascinated him and influenced his work.
Stuart spent a lifetime researching, recording and collecting anything about the rural past and today is recognised as a well-known artist craftsman, demonstrator, international lecturer and photo-journalist. He is still actively recording traditional crafts, local landscape and history via photography and video and occasionally appears on TV.

Events for Spring 2015 and AGM and Conference Details

Ahead of the publication of the Spring Newsletter, details of some the upcoming RFS events are now available on the Events page.

In April members have been invited to visit Tim Phelps Fine Furniture Restoration workshop and the Research in Progress event will take place at Ripon College Cuddesdon, near Oxford in May.

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Arrangements for the AGM and conference are underway and the particulars can be seen in full here: Conference and AGM 2015. Please note that the conference will take place on the first weekend in July – slightly earlier than usual.

As usual, please direct any enquiries or bookings to the Events Officer – events.rfs@gmail.com or use the online form here.

Reminder: Chairmaking in Lincolnshire, Monday 22 September

There are still places available for the Chairmaking in Lincolnshire event taking place near Newark on Monday 22 September. Full details are on the Events page here.

Please contact events.rfs@gmail.com to book or use the booking enquiry form here. Further details of the venue will be sent on receipt of your application.

The cost is £30 per person and will include lunch. If you are aware of members who might be interested to attend please do pass on these details.

Chicago and Milwaukee, Friday 3 October – Saturday 11 October 2014

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It is still possible to join the Society’s visit to Chicago and the Milwaukee area in October.  Flight arrangements are being made individually but we will meet in Chicago on Saturday 4 October, staying in a city centre hotel for 3 nights, then by coach to Crab Tree Farm for a day visit and on up to Milwaukee, where we stay for a further 2 nights before returning to Chicago for one last night and free day.  This last night is optional.

This trip will not be wall to wall regional furniture.  It includes Crab Tree Farm, the museum formed by John Bryan with outstanding collections of English and American furniture and one of the best collections anywhere of American Arts and Crafts furniture and decorative arts, so this is certainly a highlight for those seriously interested in furniture; and the Chipstone Foundation, a private collection with extensive first-class collections of fine American furniture and early English pottery, the Foundation is run by Jon Prown, our erstwhile American Secretary and a leading expert in American furniture history.  In the Milwaukee area we plan to visit two further collections in historic houses: one is a lovely old house with a fascinating personal collection but a visit here will depend on the owner’s health and this may not prove possible. The other, Kelton House Farm, is a relocated colonial Massachusetts house with a collection of early colonial American furniture mainly from New England.  Apart from these we will be seeing great 19 and 20th century architecture in Chicago, a city with a character and energy all on its own, superb art and decorative arts in the Art Institute, Frank Lloyd Wright’s studio and Unity Temple, and a quirky artist’s house and eclectic collection at the Roger Brown House. There will be plenty to do and see but if you are hoping for 6 days of vernacular furniture this trip will not deliver.

The cost of accommodation, coach travel, entrances etc will be £835 per person, based on two persons sharing a room.  There is a supplement for a single room.  This price will reduce if a few more people join the tour.

As an indication re flights, at the moment return Virgin Atlantic flights direct to Chicago from Heathrow seem to be about £750; non-direct flights about £650.

If you would like further information, please contact Polly Legg (events.rfs@gmail.com).