Furniture History Society forthcoming lectures

Members may be interested in the following FHS forthcoming lectures. Last year the FHS very kindly made their talks available to RFS members free of charge.

This year these talks will only be free to FHS members who will receive the zoom links automatically the week before. Non-member tickets will be priced £5 and will be available through the events email so if you would like to watch please apply to Further details may be found here.

31 Jan             BIFMO: Eleanor Quince, Principal Teaching Fellow in Modern British History at the                            University of Southampton: ‘From the provinces to the capital: Gillows of Lancaster and London’

14 Feb             FHS:  ‘Arts and Crafts in the Digital Age’ Luke Hughes in conversation with Aidan                            Walker, author of ‘Furniture in Architecture- The Work of Luke Hughes’

21 Feb            FHS: Dr. Rebecca Tilles, Associate Curator of 18th Century French & Western European                  Fine and Decorative Art, Hillwood Estate Museum & Gardens. ‘Highlights from Hillwood: Marjorie Merriweather Post’s taste for 18th-Century European Furniture’

Claudia Kinmonth’s Irish Country Furniture and Furnishings 1700-2000: Signed copies and a 20% Discount for RFS members

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: 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.

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 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.

The Butter Museum in Cork

The Regional Furniture Society visited the Butter Museum in Cork during its visit to Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic in September 2019.  The film below was made by the Butter Museum as part of a conservation project. The explanations of butter-making are by Dr Claudia Kinmonth, author of the book Irish Country Furniture. A revised edition of the book is being published by Cork University Press.  Claudia received a grant towards the production of this book from the Society.

Butter Museum Culture Night 2020

Lecture: Sunday, 18 October 2020, 19:00 (BST) – Imported British Furniture for the South by Tom Savage – Director, External Affairs (Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library)

We are again grateful to the Furniture History Society for their kindness in inviting RFS members to the latest in their series of free online lectures:

Tom Savage
Director, External Affairs (Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library)

Imported British Furniture for the South

Sunday, 18 October 2020, 19:00 (BST)

Drayton Hall Desk and Bookcase, Britain, c. 1745-50; Drayton Hall Museum Collection (NT 98.6.3), courtesy of Drayton Hall, an historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, gift of Mr Charles H. Drayton III, and Mrs Martha Drayton Mood.
Photograph courtesy of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

Tom Savage is the Director of External Affairs for Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library. From 1998 to 2005, he was Senior Vice President and Director of Sotheby’s Institute of Art for North and South America where he directed The Sotheby’s American Arts Course. From 1981 until 1998, he was Curator and Director of Museums for Historic Charleston Foundation.
This lecture will look at surviving examples and contemporary documents to re-examine the place of British imported furniture in the regions of Tidewater Virginia and the Low Country of South Carolina. The influence of British imports on local production as well as the role of the factor will be discussed.

Zoom joining instructions:

Time: Oct 18, 2020 07:00 PM London
Meeting ID: 949 3045 0585
Passcode: 081319
Attendees will be admitted from the waiting room from 18.45. Please make sure you are muted and your cameras are turned off. Please note that for security reasons we will lock the meeting at 19.20, so please make sure you have joined us by then.
The lecture will be followed by a round of Q & A. Please use the chat message box at the bottom of your zoom window.
If you are using Zoom software, Zoom have increased their security and you may be required to install an update.
The FHS has decided to invite the members of other like-minded societies around the world. If you are not yet a member but would like to join the society, please check out our website for more information.
We hope to see many of you on Sunday, 18 October.

Index to the Newsletters

The index of all the pieces which have appeared in the Newsletters has been updated for the most recent issue No 73.

William Sergeant has pointed out to me that in my own piece about chairs in Lincolnshire wills and inventories the links in the Newsletter piece are tricky to navigate. 

The links below should remedy the issue:

1452: A Flemish chair in the inventory of William Duffield, Canon Residentiary of York, Southwell and Beverley, and Fellow of Merton College, Oxford

1505 to 1530 & 1530 to 1532: early references to chairs, stools, forms, trestles and settles in Lincolnshire Wills

1532 to 1534: early references to chairs in Lincolnshire Wills

1661 – 1714 Probate Inventories – what were the citizens of Lincoln sitting on during the reigns of Charles II, James II, William & Mary and Anne?

1663 – Bishop Sanderson’s Flagg-Bottomed Chairs and Other Stories

1665 – Inventory of John Brooke, Chair maker of St Martin’s Parish, Lincoln

1691 – Inventory of William Botamley, Chair maker of Gainsborough, Lincolnshire

1696 – Probate Inventory of John Dring of St Peter’s in the Arches, Lincoln 4th December 1696

1705 – John Ashton late of Spalding in the County of Lincoln, chair maker – Inventory

1718 – 1729 The comparative value of an early 18th century Windsor chair

Julian Parker

Website Editor

Lecture: Sunday, 20 September 2020, 19:00 Camille Mestdagh – Valuing old, making new and selling both: The Beurdeleys in Paris (1818-1895)

The Furniture History Society have again kindly invited RFS members to an online lecture.

The Furniture History Society invites you to the latest in our series of free online lectures:

Camille Mestdagh

Independent scholar in the history of furniture, decorative arts and the history of the art market

Valuing old, making new and selling both: The Beurdeleys in Paris (1818-1895)

Sunday, 20 September 2020, 19:00 (BST)

Console table, clock and vases designed by Alfred Beurdeley, c. 1865, Beurdeley private archives © Camille Mestdagh

Camille received her PhD in December 2019 (‘The Beurdeley dynasty: from boutique to workshop, a history of trade in antiques and of furniture production in 19th century Paris’). She published her first academic thesis on the Parisian furniture workshops as a book, L’ameublement d’art français 1850-1900 in 2010. Her research now revolves around the correlations between the establishment of the Parisian market for antiques, the cabinet and bronze makers production in the second half of the nineteenth century and the collectors’ choices. She worked for a London auction house and for the National Trust Collections department before returning to Paris, where she now works as an independent scholar and lecturer, notably for the Institute of Arts and Culture and the School of Culture Management and the Art Market.
For more details, including a short summary of this lecture and instructions (including a link) for how to join the meeting, please click here.


27 September 2020, 19.00 (BST): BIFMO lecture by Stacey Sloboda, ‘St Martin’s Lane: Art, Design, and the Cultural Geography of the Eighteenth-Century London Art World’

Regional Furniture Volume 34 – a taster

Regional Furniture Volume 34 will include an article about the chest in St Martin’s Church, Hindringham, Norfolk.

Johann von Katzenelnbogen in Maryland has an interesting blog which mentions this chest and also has a clever piece of detective work on mediaeval woodworking tools, starting with a stained glass window in the cathedral at Chartres.

Watch this space …

‘Gothic’ chests: caveat emptor!

This article describes a plain Spanish chest which has had gothic carving added in recent decades. John Andrews’s book British Antique Furniture: price guide and reasons for values (ACC, 1989, p. 162) illustrates a larger chest which has been later carved in a very similar style of gothic carving. 
There are various estimates of the original dates of such chests, from sixteenth to eighteenth century.

The Welsh Stick Chair – a new book


Regional Furniture Society members will be interested to learn that Tim and Betsan Bowen have just published The Welsh Stick Chair – a visual record (Pethe Press 2020). Welsh-speaking members and those learning Welsh will be delighted to discover that the volume is bilingual with the text in Welsh and English next to each other. The authors have used images of the chairs, stools and tables which they have photographed over many years as dealers in Welsh vernacular furniture. Their aim in producing this book is to extend the knowledge and appreciation of these important items of the Welsh folk art tradition. The book is available here. A review will appear in the Newsletter in due course.