A yew ‘garlands’ chest front, dated 1664, South-western Brittany Photo credit: CEFA Auctions
For members interested in regional furniture outside the UK, a scanned version of a long out of print booklet on Breton chests and carved panels published in 1976 is now available.
Written by Marguerite Le Roux-Paugam, Les coffres paysans du Leon et de Haute Cornouaille (XVIe et XVIIe siecles) is a study of fifty dated chests from western (or Lower) Brittany. A few of them date from 1550-1600, but the numbers peak in 1630-70 and decline thereafter. She argues that this trend matches the evolution of the area’s prosperity. She shows that there were two sizes of chest; clothes chests of 100-170 cm in width and grain chests of 180-215 cm. Selly Manor Museum, Bournville has an example of each.
These chests have a distinctive style of decoration in that Gothic tracery retained its popularity in Brittany until the 1660s and was combined with renaissance motifs such as interlace. Other motifs include the lively humans and animals also found on carved woodwork in Breton churches. Intact sixteenth and seventeenth century chests are rare but chest fronts and loose panels have made their way to the UK.
The decoration of chests varies within Lower Brittany. The title of the booklet refers to chests in the extreme north-western part of Brittany but the images include chests from south western Brittany, where ‘garlands’ chests are most common. The best collection of Breton chests is at the Departmental museum at Quimper. Enter ‘coffre’
NAMES FOR THINGS
A Description of Household Stuff
Furniture and Interiors
Members will be pleased to hear that the posthumous publication of a glossary of terms, written by Victor Chinnery is still available for order.
The book was published in October 2016 and is an A4 hardback, 324 pages and containing 53 illustrations. The approach taken in the book is both original and creative. It places emphasis on the integrated relationship between furniture and the many artefacts found within the early British home.
In the book, Victor looks, not only at furniture, but also interior decoration, metalwork, pottery, wood types and the use of colour in interiors.
Glossary entries – giving a detailed description of the objects – are backed up by inventory references and other documentary evidence, which aim to explain how the objects would have been used, in a period setting.
It will be an invaluable work of reference for historians, museum curators, dealers and collectors alike.
The book is edited and contains a foreword by Jan Chinnery.
The book retails at £35, plus UK postage of £4 and is available at through all good booksellers (ISBN 9780957599284).
The second print run of Claudia Kinmonth’s book, Irish Country Furniture and Furnishings 1700-2000 (Cork University Press, November 2020) is in the shops. If anyone wants a signed copy, request it directly from Claudia (firstname.lastname@example.org), otherwise request CUP to post out a copy (the business postal rate to the UK is probably cheaper). Copies are €39 or £35 each. For more information about her publications see www.claudiakinmonth.ie Claudia says: Cork University Press confirm that the 20% discount can still apply (off £35) but buyers must quote the code ICF. Buyers can email to email@example.com to have a discounted copy sent out. She may have some signed copies left.
This month sees the publication of Claudia Kinmonth’s keenly awaited Irish Country Furniture and Furnishings 1700-2000 (pp. 550 illus 448., Cork University Press). Following the Society’s Irish tour last year and as a thank you to the RFS for its support for the book Claudia has arranged a special 20% discount from the publisher for RFS members on the RRP €39.00 or £35.00 (plus p&p.), valid until the end of December. The book will also be available from good bookshops by about 20 November 2020, and online, usually free of postage, from Book Depository. To order a signed copy from the publisher, email: firstname.lastname@example.org and quote the code ‘RFS’. Signed copies must be ordered before 31 December 2020. Listen to Claudia’s recent interview on BBC Radio Ulster (at 26 mins 40 seconds into the programme). For more information please check Claudia’s website and her Twitter.
The Cabinetmaker’s Account: John Head’s Record of Craft & Commerce in Colonial Philadelphia, 1718-1753, by Jay Robert Stiefel
Suffolk-born joiner John Head immigrated to Philadelphia in 1717 and became one of its most successful artisans and merchants. However, Head’s prominence had been lost to history until Jay Stiefel’s discovery of his account book at the American Philosophical Society Library. Head’s account book is the earliest and most complete to have survived from any cabinetmaker working in British North America or in Great Britain and offers a 35-year ‘moving picture’ of an 18th century cabinetmaker’s daily life.
Historian, lawyer, and collector Jay Robert Stiefel is an authority on the crafts and commerce of Colonial Philadelphia and the institutions founded by Franklin for the welfare of its tradesmen. He studied history at the University of Pennsylvania and Christ Church, Oxford. Stiefel’s writings and lectures on social history have restored to the historical record many early craftsmen, artists, and merchants whose prominence had been obscured by the passage of time.
Jay introduced his new book at three venues (these lectures have now all taken place):
Tuesday April 30th at 5:00 p.m. Christ Church, Oxford. Free, but booking required via the Christ Church website.
Another wonderful publication was released last year by one of the Society’s members and former Newsletter editor, Noël Riley. The Accomplished Lady – a history of genteel
pursuits c. 1660–1860 is a richly illustrated “study of the skills and pastimes of upper-class women and the works they produced during a 200-year period.”
Noël Riley has written and lectured extensively on the decorative arts and is a
consultant at Sotheby’s Institute of Art, London. Her previous books include Penwork: A Decorative Art, The Victorian Design Source Book, Gifts for Good Children – the History of Children’s China 1790–1890, and pocket guides to Tea Caddies and Visiting Card Cases. She has written for many art periodicals, both academic and popular, and for many years she contributed to Historic House, the journal of the Historic Houses Association.
The book is, of course, available in all good book shops!
The sharp-eyed amongst you may have noticed that we have gradually been making past Journal articles available on the Journal back issues page of this site.
Volumes 1 -23 (1989 -2009) – that’s 20 years of regional furniture research articles – are now accessible to read and download for study and enjoyment. Included are all the special and themed issues of the Journal.
We hope to publish the 2010-2014 volumes shortly. The current issue (Volume 30 – 2016) of Regional Furniture is, of course, only available to RFS members, but the back issues will be published on this website after a three year delay.
RFS members will be interested to see this new publication on the outstanding contribution of Laurence Cadbury who created a wonderful collection of early furniture, domestic objects and archives for Selly Manor. Written by Museum Manager Daniel Callicott and based on original research, this book catalogues the collection with detailed historical descriptions and photographs of the objects, which date from the 16th – 19th centuries. With over 170 full colour images this is a fascinating, illuminating and colourful publication that brings this important collection to print for the first time.
How Laurence Cadbury acquired such an impressive collection is documented through photographs and archives, and the book describes his relationship with local antiques dealer Oliver Baker.
All proceeds from the sale of this book will go towards the conservation and preservation of the Laurence Cadbury Collection at Selly Manor, ensuring these objects will be enjoyed by generations to come.
To purchase your copy of this book (£15) please contact: email@example.com or call 0121 472 0199
or visit Selly Manor Museum
Maple Road, Bournville, Birmingham, B30 2AE