An Exhibition of Lincolnshire chairs at Alford Manor

Alford Manor

An Exhibition of Lincolnshire chairs at Alford Manor, West St., Alford, Lincs, LN13 9HT

All are invited to this exhibition which started in April and continues until October 2019.

The exhibition includes a variety of types of chair, from early 18th century Forest chairs (the earliest form of Windsor chair) to 18th and 19th century rush-seated and Windsor chairs from the county as well as some examples of cabinet makers’ chairs. Where known, the names of  the makers and places of origin of the chairs, are identified. The exhibition will be of interest to all those with an interest in regional types of chair, whether from Lincolnshire or elsewhere, including those interested in their family history who may have inherited a ‘family chair’.

The exhibition has been organised by William Sergeant who has curated two short exhibitions of Lincolnshire Chairs in recent years, and is mainly sourced from his own Museum. Such has been the success of these events that he has managed to negotiate this longer Exhibition at Alford Manor House in North East Lincolnshire.

An online catalogue was created for the items on display. Now that the exhibition has finished, the catalogue has been converted into a blog by Julian Parker and William Sergeant about Lincolnshire Windsor and rush-seated chairs; it also covers chairs from other regions which catch their eye.



Notice of RFS Annual General Meeting 2019

The 2019 Annual General Meeting of the Regional Furniture Society will be held at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday 14 July in the Regional Food Academy of Harper Adams University. It is located in Edgmond, Shropshire which is two miles west of Newport and 9 miles north of Telford.

All members are invited to attend, not just those attending the Shropshire Conference.

The Annual Report and Accounts for 2018 are available on the website on the Annual Report and Accounts page. Any member requiring a paper version should send an A4 self-addressed envelope to the Secretary requesting a copy.

Jeremy Rycroft, Secretary


The Annual Christopher Gilbert Lecture, Friday 12 July, 2019

The annual Christopher Gilbert lecture for 2019 will be given by Hans Piena on The History of the Dutch Ladder-back Chair.  We met Hans at the Netherlands Open Air Museum on our Netherlands tour in 2001.  His lecture will take place after dinner on Friday 12th July at Harper Adams University as part of the annual RFS conference in Shropshire.
There are now two lectures planned for the conference with a third possible. Currently there are still a few places available for the full conference, but if you wish to attend supper and the Hans Piena’s lecture only, please contact the events secretary, Jeremy Bate at 

Exhibition: Thinking inside the box

Members will be interested to hear about an exhibition currently on show the Bodleian’s Blackwell Hall, Weston Library in Oxford. Thinking inside the box is a display of boxes, bags, and satchels used for carrying books at different times and places – inspired by the Bodleian’s recent acquisition of a book-coffer from fifteenth century medieval Paris.

The exhibition runs until 17 February 2019, Further details are available from the Weston Library Information desk: 01865 277094 or the website: Thinking inside the box

RFS 2019 Events Update

Please note that the RFS visit to Cambridge on 13th May “Pepys Library and Kettles Yard’ is now fully booked.

With this in mind, members are reminded that the annual Research in Progress event takes place on Saturday 9 March 2019 at the Conway Hall, London. Please use the One day events booking form – Spring 2019.

This year the event will focus on the regionality of chair making, with five papers spanning the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Speakers will examine a variety of idiosyncratic forms, the materials used, the makers, and their customers. Traditions commence as novelties and in many cases new research is establishing the precise origins of previously identified geographical groups. The papers will draw on a variety of research methods including fieldwork, archival sources and scientific analysis.

  • The Caqueteuse Form in 17th century Scotland – Stephen Jackson
  • Chairmaking in 18th Century Wakefield – Andrew Cox-Whittaker
  • The Rush-Seated Chair in the North West of England – Simon Feingold
  • Windsor Chairmaking in Grantham: the first fifteen years – William Sergeant
  • In Search of the Elusive Mendlesham Chair and Other East Anglian Windsor Chairs – Robert Williams

Further details about the presentations and speakers will available on the Research in Progress page.

The event will start at 10 am for 10.30am, and will finish at 4.30pm. It is open to all. The fee is £35 for RFS members, £40 for non-members and covers attendance and tea/coffee but not lunch; there are numerous cafes and pubs nearby.

A number of 50% bursaries will be available. Application forms are available here: Grant & Bursary application forms.

£4 Million Restoration: Historic House Rescue

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.

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 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, or 0207 942 2292.