Conference: The British Antiques Trade in the 20th Century – A Cultural Geography, Temple Newsam House, Leeds , April 14th & 15th, 2016

This two-day conference is an opportunity to hear about the AHRC funded 32 month research project, the Antique Dealer Project, and is focused on the history of the British Antique Trade in the 20th century. The project is a collaboration between the University of Leeds and the University of Southampton.

The conference programme includes a selection of academic papers from the project team, together with talks from well-known figures from the world of antiques, and high-profile antique dealers. There is also an ‘In Conversation’ session, with a selection of the oral history interviewees involved in the research project, as well as some facilitated discussion group sessions based around issues in the history of the antique trade.

Alongside these academic papers, talks and discussion groups, there are also expert-led guided tours around our venue, Temple Newsam House, together with specialist sessions on antique dealer archives and museum object sessions as part of behind-the-scenes tours.

For booking information use this link: booking

For a full conference programme use this link: programme


Save the Judges’ Lodgings Museum in Lancaster

The Judges’ Lodgings museum, along with several other Lancashire museums, has been scheduled to be shut down in Spring 2016. The government budget cuts for local councils has forced Lancashire County Council to take drastic measures including closing down local facilities and putting thousands of people out of work.

Of particular concern to RFS members is the antique Gillows furniture, which is held at The Judges’ Lodgings and is the world’s largest Gillows and Gillows and Waring collection.

From the petition:
“The Gillow furniture collection is a jewel in the nation’s crown. If the Judges Lodgings Museum closes, this would mean the dispersal of the finest permanent collection of Gillow furniture in the world, housed yards away from where it was manufactured hundreds of years ago. If you care about our British history and heritage you must unite to stop the closure of this important museum.”

Please take the time to sign the online petition here:


Christopher Gilbert Lecture with Dr Todd Gray – this Saturday, 7th November

The Christopher Gilbert Lecture is being held at the Geffrye Museum, London, this Saturday 7th November  at 2:30pm. Dr Todd Gray MBE, will be presenting his research on `Local sensibilities in bench end carving in Devon and the West Country, 1480 – 1650′,

Todd Gray is Research Fellow at Exeter University; he is currently completing a project funded through the Pilgrim Trust which identifies all of the ancient bench ends in the churches in the six counties of South West of England. His lecture explores the use of design, principally Gothic and Renaissance, by English and continental craftsmen amidst the changing religious considerations of the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. The cost will be £10 to members. For tickets please contact the Events Secretary –


Talk by Peter Thornborrow in Halifax, 20th and 26th October

RFS member and architectural historian Peter Thornborrow is giving talks in October that will undoubtedly be of interest to our northern based members. His subject is “The 17th century Oak Furniture and Vernacular Houses of the Pennines – a fascinating story of regional differences”.

He will be speaking at the Halifax Antiquarian Society, Halifax Central Library, Northgate, Halifax, 7:15 for 7:30 pm on Tuesday 20th October and again on the same topic, on Monday 26th October, to the Halifax Antiques Society, 7:15 for 7:30 (a small fee is payable at each venue).

Deadline for RFS bursary applications

A quick reminder that the deadline for applications for bursaries is coming up. Applications need to be with the bursary committee by July 31st.  The bursaries are designed to encourage and support research projects related to regional furniture, with a view to publication. See here for further details and the application form.

Research in Progress day, Saturday, May 23rd – places still available

There are still places available for the Research In Progress day, which is being held on Saturday, May 23rd. The venue is Rippon College Cuddesdon, Oxford, OX44 9EX, 10 – 5pm

Rippon College, Colin Bates [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Rippon College, Colin Bates [CC BY-SA 2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

Some of the speakers are already well-known to members of the Society but others are researchers we are hearing from for the first time.  Subjects will include Chris Pickvance’s ‘What is a Kent chest’,  Andrew Cox Whitaker’s work on the ingenious Mr Elwick and Wakefield cabinet makers and  David Bryant on Isaac Newton’s spinning wheel.  Alan Moore’s research on fine furniture making in the 18th century and Robert Williams’ on timber supplies during the Napoleonic War will address materials and techniques, and recent research on chairs and chair makers will be represented by Andrew Honey, Tony Howe and William Sergeant, on chairs from Kent, Surrey or Sussex, East Anglia and the north east midlands.

The day will also include visiting the original buildings of Cuddesdon College, designed by G E Street in the 1850s, which still retain some of the furniture he designed.

The cost of the day is £30 per head and includes coffee, lunch and tea. Please contact the events secretary on or using the online booking form here.