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.
The Events Secretary has received this message from Ian Deakin who was looking forward to attending the cancelled West Yorkshire study day:
“Myself and my family are NHS employees currently working with the Covid19 crisis. I find it a great release for me to learn more about my passion for early oak furniture when I have time and start to visit collections again. I have been looking for some time for Tobias Jellinek’s Early British Chairs and Seats 1500 -1700*. If you know of any member who is selling a copy or where it can be sourced at a ‘reasonable’ cost I would be very interested. There are copies available online (which don’t seem to sell) for very high prices at the moment.“
If you have a copy you are prepared to part with, please contact the Events Secretary who will forward your message to Ian.
Unfortunately Society events have had to be postponed or cancelled because of coronavirus risk. Here is the updated calendar which makes for sad reading.
In order to keep us up-to-date and, I hope, entertained, I have started both an RFS Twitter feed (which updates onto the front page of this website) and an Instagram feed for which I cannot locate a widget to achieve the same. At the moment I am posting pictures mostly from our magnificent back catalogue of articles, with links on the Twitter feed to the relevant article from which the picture has been chosen. I am supplementing this material with occasional contributions from William Sergeant’s and my Lincolnshire Chair blog.
Interesting and beautiful contributions are also invited from anyone who would like to contribute: please send photograph(s) (and brief caption explaining what, where and when) to email@example.com.
in succession to:
Ananda Rutherford, to whom our very grateful thanks for her nine years as Website Editor, and my personal thanks for handing over the website to me smoothly, with kindness, and in excellent order. I will try to maintain her high standards!
RFS members may like to get hold of a copy of the March 11th issue of Country Life: the magazine contains a fascinating article by former RFS journal editor David Jones which dovetails an article on the building history of the castle by Mary Miers in the same issue. Members may recall that David conducted a study day of the 18th and 19th century furniture at Blair Castle in Perthshire last year, and this article reveals his recent discoveries.
In the turbulent times of the Jacobite rebellion of the 1740s the Duke of Atholl commenced a transformation of the castle from an antiquated fortress to a sophisticated Highland palace. He employed an impressive role-call of London and Scottish furniture makers including Thomas Chippendale. His programme was continued by successive Dukes reflecting the changes of fashion yet with the unifying strand of using unusual native woods, mostly from the Atholl Estates.
The Plantagenet (a pun on the Latin name for broom : Planta Genista) bureau-bookcase by Perth maker George Sandeman ‘achieves unique whimsical effects’ in the use of broom-wood veneers laid in a striped pattern on an oak carcass. (photo: Country Life)
David suggests that the imaginative patronage of furniture makers by successive Dukes of Atholl over the course of 100 years and their use of native timbers over mahogany is unparalleled in any other house.
Tomorrow, Wednesday 16th January at 9pm, More 4 is broadcasting the first of two programmes called the £4 Million Restoration, which may be of interest to members. It documents the restoration of a Landmark Trust farmhouse in the Black Mountains, dating from c 1400. A new dating technique has been used which is claimed to work on timber previously undateable by conventional methods.
Further information is available in this article in The Guardian: newspaper: Welsh farmstead is rare medieval hall house, experts confirm and the programme details can be found here: Historic House Rescue.
We have had the following request from the Department of Furniture, Textiles and Fashion at the V&A. Please respond directly to the email or phone number given below rather than to the RFS.
Would any member be interested in volunteering to help maintain the library and research files in the Furniture and Woodwork section at the V&A? We need help rationalising our research papers, and accessioning and auditing existing books. If you live in the London area and would be interested in offering time on a regular basis, please contact Kate Hay, Department of Furniture, Textiles and Fashion, firstname.lastname@example.org or 0207 942 2292.
The latest RFS Newsletter out now and available to members. There are several interesting notes in this Autumn edition:
- Letter from America by Daniel Ackermann
- A Forest chair in Colonial America by Bob Parrott
- Darvel chairs: J. McKellar, a new maker by Crissie White
- 16th-century panelling and a canopy from the Neptune Inn, Ipswich by Liz Hancock
The Newsletter includes two additional notes by curators discussing objects in their collections:
- The Guardian’s chair from Leah Mellors of the Ripon Museum Trust and
- A Warwickshire Press Cupboard, by Rosalyn Sklar at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.
There are also reports on recent events, featuring the February meeting at the V&A on New thinking about 16th-century furniture, with summaries of the papers by Chris Pickvance, Megan Wheeler, Michael Pearce, Nick Humphrey and Yannick Chastang. Notes on the Glasgow conference on Charles Rennie Mackintosh include a summary of this year’s Christopher Gilbert Memorial Lecture by David Jones on Scottish vernacular sources for Mackintosh’s furniture designs.