Volunteer Opportunity at V&A

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 phon 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, k.hay@vam.ac.uk or 0207 942 2292.

Autumn 2018 Newsletter

RFS NL 69 Berkely cover
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.

RFS visit to two chairmaking workshops in Warwickshire, Tuesday October 30th

Now Fully Booked!

The first members’ event this Autumn is to Lawrence Neal’s workshop and Dave Green’s Sitting Firm company.

Lawrence Neal is the only remaining maker of rush-seated chairs with a direct line of apprenticeship to Philip Clissett.   Many of Lawrence’s chairs were designed by Ernest Gimson who took the Clissett tradition forward.  Gimson’s aim was to prove that well designed and skilfully made chairs can be produced by village craftsmen and be comparable with the best work of the old chairmakers. The combination of English woodland timber and rushes create a unique, light but strong and lasting chair, with an honest unassuming beauty.  Looking forward to retirement and concerned of the future of the tradition, Lawrence has, with the help of the Heritage Crafts Association, secured funding from a private benefactor for two apprentices to learn the craft before moving the workshop to the Scottish Borders.

Dave Green founded Sitting Firm in 1989 with the aim of producing fine quality traditional Windsor chairs for the retail and export markets.   As the fashion for traditional furniture declined his business has evolved to become a maker of short runs of innovative modern Windsors designed by leading international architects and furniture designers – many for specific buildings . One of his most recent commissions was to provide the chairs for the new entrance and café of Kettles Yard in Cambridge.

Cost for the day £15. Numbers are limited and available to RFS members, their guests and bursaries only. Refreshments are not included but we will find somewhere to lunch together.  Book by 15th October.  You may print off the booking form here: Booking form which must be posted (address is given on the booking form) and accompanied by a cheque.

Chippendale 300 exhibition: ‘The Paxton Style: Neat & Substantially Good’, Paxton House, 5th June to 28th August 2018

Paxton House will be holding an exhibition to celebrate Chippendale 300, The Paxton Style: ‘Neat & Substantially Good’ exhibition (5th June to 28th August 2018) showcasing new research on the Chippendale furniture commissioned by the Home family and including masterpiece loans from private and public collections including the V&A Museum and National Museums of Scotland. It will also examine the influences upon the pieces and the legacy they had on further work by the Chippendale firm and beyond. The exhibition will be free to attend and will be open daily from 11am-3pm.

There will also be a series of events and lectures associated with the exhibition held over the summer period, including:

Use the links on the events above for more information about timings and entry prices, or download the full list of events relating to the exhibition at Paxton House here.

For further information  on  events across the country to celebrate the tercentenary of Chippendale’s birth have a look at the  Chippendale 300 website.

 

Spring Newsletter 2018

Members will by now have received their copy of the latest RFS Newsletter, featuring reports of recent Society events as well as a number of short illustrated articles and queries on regional furniture. The Newsletter is published twice a year, and is one of the benefits of RFS membership.

NL Spring 2018 coverThe copy date for the next Newsletter is 31 July 2018. Please send MS Word files (without embedded images) and separate high-resolution images (jpegs or tiffs), preferably by email, to liz.hancock@glasgow.ac.uk.

 

British and Irish Furniture Makers Online

Readers will be interested to hear about this fascinating new project –  British and Irish Furniture Makers Online (BIFMO). The project is a collaboration between the Furniture History Society and the Institute of Historical Research with the goal of developing and making accessible the history of furniture as a material, cultural, social and economic subject of study.

From the press release:

Conversation piece, a cabinet maker’s office. Oil Painting, England, c. 1770 (© Victoria and Albert Museum, London, Image No. 2006BF4151-01).

The Institute of Historical Research and the Furniture History Society are delighted to announce that British and Irish Furniture Makers Online  is now freely available to view online at https://bifmo.data.history.ac.uk.

The initial phase of the project has seen the construction of the BIFMO database comprising information on English furniture makers drawn from the definitive 1986 guide to the trade, the Dictionary of English Furniture Makers, 1660 – 1840, as well as from the London Joiners’ Company apprenticeship and freedom records, 1640-1720.

The database will contain detailed biographies of British and Irish furniture makers from the sixteenth century to the present day, providing a rich resource for historians of social, economic, political, art, furniture and material culture, as well as to collectors, connoisseurs and the art market. In addition to extending the chronological dates of the database’s biographical data, our aim is to broaden the contents of BIFMO to visual materials, as well as the reproduction of a wide range of primary sources.

The second phase of the project is undertaking new research to explore key historical questions surrounding the furniture making industry, including a case study on the role of British and Irish women in the nineteenth century: where they lived, their occupational roles, how they sold their wares, and their clientele. In addition, ongoing development to the BIFMO website will introduce new ways of engaging with the data as we enhance the information in the Dictionary with new scholarship published since 1986.

BIFMO is an ongoing project, with separate but integrated research, resource-creation, public engagement and training strands. If you would like more information about the project, or the database, or getting involved, please do get in touch: http://bifmo.data.history.ac.uk/contact

Clive Edwards to give the 2017 Christopher Gilbert Lecture, 3:00 p.m. Saturday 21 October at the Geffrye Museum, Shoreditch

Clive Edwards, Emeritus Professor of Design History, Loughborough University, will deliver this year’s Christopher Gilbert Lecture: The upholsterer and the retailing of domestic furnishings 1600–1800. Clive will welcome questions and discussion after his lecture while tea is served. Cost: £10 for members and guests.

To make a day of it an informal visit is planned to the Charles Dickens Museum,  Bloomsbury, the family home of Charles and Catherine Dickens in London, where the author wrote Oliver Twist, The Pickwick Papers and Nicholas Nickleby, and where he first achieved international fame as one of the world’s greatest storytellers. The house, in a late Georgian terrace, with faithfully re-created interiors, including many items of his furniture is where his three eldest children were born and where he entertained many famous guests. Lunch may be taken nearby, or members may prefer to lunch at the Geffrye Museum, which is only a short bus ride away.

The Christopher Gilbert Lecture booking form