The diary of Eimert Papenborg (1826-1899)

Members who missed Hans Piena’s talk about the diary of Eimert Papenborg may catch up on the RFS YouTube channel here.

I have indexed the talk as follows:

Hans Piena, Conservator/Curator, Nederlands Openluchtmuseum (Holland Open Air Museum) 0:00 Introduction to the diary of Eimert Papenborg re-discovered 1969 and then 2013 1:13 Historical context – Beethoven; The Beagle; aftermath of Napoleon; England a world power 1:58 213 pages sometimes 3 times overwritten and parts in secret code and faded 2:29 8 years of research and deciphering leading to publication in 10 chapters ISBN:978-90-823607-5-2 3:19 Achterhoek region 3:44 local map of farm site near Zieuwent 4:29 Louis Apol c. 1880 Country Road 5:07 yearly floods; Drinking Cows Willem Roelofs 1884 5:39 Jan Holtrup c. 1940 Winter afternoon in the Achterhoek – low walled huts with rye straw roof 6:02 Oldest picture of the farm 6:22 Louis Apol Looking for wood 1873-75 in Winter 6:42 Papenborg’s oldest son and family – Catholic village in Protestant country – distinctive gold crosses worn by the women 7:33 pig meat and fat eaten never beef: cows were for butter 7:56 Herman Johannes van Der Weele 1852-1930 Ploughing with ox – oxen were the tractors 8:10 main crops potatoes and rye 8:31 8 old apple varieties 8:54 Papenborg fell in love with youngest daughter of richest local farmer 1851-52 – took nearly 9 years to get permission to marry 9:55 Albert Neuhuys 1844-1914 Changing diapers – interior of family house kettle over fire 10:28 Bernhardt Winter 1905-06 women flax processing, ladder back chairs 10:51 linen cabinet – linen was most valuable item in Papenborg’s inventory 11:46 H J ten Noever Bakker 1899 Pedlar with wicker back basket selling chickens and tobacco to woman who had the money 12:22 Otto van Tussenbroek 1905 Churning butter – thrice monthly market 5-8kg butter 18 km away – profitable for cash 13:16 House interior Hendrikus Johannes Melis 1860-1923 – 3 legged table, jointed stool, cradle, books, paintings, Bible 14:06 kettle wrongly restored, hand-blown glass bottle, clock c 1860, fire tongs, stoneware jug for lamp oil 15:06 isolated, no doctors nearby, recipes in diary for medicinal herbs, no fertilisers more diversity 15:57 Anton Mauve 1838-88 Chopping wood – wood for fire, utensils, furniture, carts, barns, houses – pit saw for boards 16:30 van Der Weele 1852-1930 Oxcart with wood 17:00 crops not enough to make ends meet – charcoal production 17:34 September 1848-67 charcoal burning – alder, birch, ash, poplar, oak – tree planting to re-grow 18:58 sold to foundry, 40 km away north 8 hours each way trip Foundry 1900 Herman Heijenbrock, chalk pastels on black paper 20:38 cradle from basketmaker 21:09 Dutch willow cradle 21:28 Tilt top 3 legged round table 1851 22:08 stone cobbled floor on parents’ farm 22:23 3 legged chair ex John Boram collection 3 legs for stability Papenborg adopted tiled floor in own house and 4 legged ladder back chairs 23:15 1853 oak bureau ordered, stained and coloured like mahogany retrieved from under tons of straw and thoroughly cleaned which unfortunately removed the finish and it was then waxed 25:29 1786 oak trunk descended from Eimert Papenborg’s parents 26:06 Hendrikus Papenborg, master carpenter & cabinet maker of Zieuwent 1863-1925 27:16 Floor plan with cabinet workshop amongst ox and pig stalls 28:17 Family descended cabinet on chest made by Hendrikus Papenborg with dove and serpent tableau. Panels replaced by glass and scraped but no longer authentic finish. 29:45 but Louis XVI brasses in the workshop 30:04 cabinet details showing paint remains in rebates and 3 dowels 31:01 Another cabinet by Hendrikus Papenborg, completely original, inscribed in pencil ‘Dit kambinet gemaakt in het jaar 1892 Zieuwent den 19 maart feestdag van de H. Joseph H Papenborg Timmerman te Zieuwent’ This cabinet was made in the year 1892 on 19 March, the feast day of St Joseph H. Papenborg, carpenter in Zieuwent. Rosewood imitation, with gold and silver carving suggesting brasses, mimicking Dutch 18th century cabinet e.g. 1750 Amsterdam and 140 years later Papenborg was imitating it. Anything to escape the rustic look! 33:50 onwards: questions and answers

Julian Parker

Website Editor

English Regional Chair Makers Database now online

An index of almost 7,500 English regional chairmakers created by Bernard and Geraldine Cotton has been added to BIFMO, the British and Irish Furniture Makers Online database.  The index was generated over the past 50 years as part of the Cotton’s monumental research into British traditions in regional furniture.  Making this resource accessible online opens the way for further discoveries about the makers of the Windsor chairs and turned chairs which were integral to the daily lives of people from Cumbria to Cornwall over the last 300 years. 

Dr Bernard Cotton’s seminal publication, The English Regional Chair (Antique Collectors’ Club, 1990, reprinted 1997) stands as the definitive study of the many and varied traditions developed by chairmakers in different parts of the country.  The core of it is was to identify the names, dates and locations of makers themselves, the vast majority of whom will for ever remain anonymous.  The Cottons formed a card index of some 15,000 names through painstaking research of local trade directories, census returns, newspapers and other documents, at a time when none of these were digitised and computers were hardly known.  Data from the manuscript cards was recently scanned and then transcribed into an Excel spreadsheet; after many months of careful work this has now been successfully uploaded onto BIFMO as a major new resource, accessible to all.  Funding for this work has been kindly provided by a generous donor and a grant from the Regional Furniture Society.  It could not have been achieved without the support of the Furniture History Society, which created and manages the BIFMO site, and the largely voluntary commitment of Laurie Lindey, BIFMO Managing Editor. 

Photographs of chairs made by these makers, who identified their work with their branded or stamped initials or name, or with a label, will be added to the entries over the next few weeks.  Many will be of chairs in the Cotton Collection of over 200 English regional chairs which they donated to the Museum of the Home (formerly the Geffrye Museum) in 2002.

Mendlesham Armchair attributed to Richard Day Windsor armchair with three ripple splats on the back and a curved top rail, made from plum, yew and elm woods, possibly manufactured in Mendlesham, Suffolk by Richard Day, c. 1830. Museum no. 677/2005 Photograph credit, Museum of the Home

In parallel with this chairmaker index, work is progressing to transcribe a further index of English regional cabinet makers, turners and joiners which the Cottons developed as their research progressed.  These were the makers of the press cupboards, dressers, chests, tables and beds, salt boxes and candle boxes, and all the many incidental and utilitarian household objects required for everyday use.  The index comprises some 25,000 names and will in due course be added to BIFMO, providing a rich seam for ancestry research and local history.

The Cotton Archive of British Regional Furniture containing all of the material studied and collected during a lifetime of research, is now being catalogued prior to its being donated to the Museum of the Home.  The first and most significant part of the archive, which covers all of the English regions, with Scotland, Ireland and Wales as well as the Channel Islands and Isle of Man, was transferred in October 2021.  Digital recordings and transcripts of 12 interviews with Dr Cotton made as part of the cataloguing project, describing the vernacular furniture traditions of the English regions, are part of this first donation.  Further material, including an extensive photographic archive and a series of fieldwork research notebooks will follow next year, as well as research files on Australia, America, Newfoundland and other countries where the British settled and influenced furniture.

In a statement, Dr Bernard (Bill) Cotton writes, 

‘My ambition has been to identify the origins of furniture made for the homes of working people, and to record, where possible, the names of makers and the social context in which it was used.  The transfer of our regional chairmakers index to BIFMO opens the potential for others to continue the research to which my wife, Geraldine and I have devoted much of our lives. We are grateful to all those who have made this possible and are excited by the prospect of new discoveries being made as a result.’ 

Liz Hancock, Chairman of the Regional Furniture Society says,  

‘The regional chairmaker database is an important addition to BIFMO and represents a major contribution to furniture studies.  On behalf of the Regional Furniture Society (RFS) I would like to congratulate all those involved in making this invaluable resource accessible online.  Bernard and Geraldine Cotton were founder members of the RFS, established in 1984 with the aim of researching and recording the regional traditions of furniture making throughout Britain and Ireland. This includes the social and cultural context of furniture and its relation to vernacular architecture and interiors. The chairmaker database offers new opportunities in this developing field of research.’ 

Chairman of the Furniture History Society, Christopher Rowell writes: 

‘The Furniture History Society is honoured to have been entrusted by Dr and Mrs Cotton with the fruits of their research which will greatly enrich BIFMO in the field of vernacular furniture studies. The Society is also grateful to the Regional Furniture Society and an anonymous donor for the grants to enable the digitisation of the material.’

And Sonia Solicari, Director, Museum of the Home, said:

“It’s exciting that the index to this incredible archive is being made accessible, enabling many more people to enjoy the rich history of these chairs. Bernard and Geraldine Cotton unearthed so many otherwise forgotten stories in their decades of research and collecting. I hope that the BIFMO database will enable more stories of everyday making and home life to be revealed and shared in the decades to come.”

Any enquiries, please contact Laurie Lindey, BIFMO Managing Editor,  lindey.laurie1987@gmail.com

Regional Furniture Society

Furniture History Society 

BIFMO (British and Irish Furniture Makers Online):

Museum of the Home

Centre for the Studies of Home

Windsor Armchair attributed to Jack Goodchild High-back double-bow Windsor armchair with cabriole shaped front legs and a Chippendale-inspired pierced central splat, made from yew with an elm seat, probably manufactured by Jack Goodchild in Naphill, Buckinghamshire, c.1885-1950 Museum no. 543/2005 Photograph credit, Museum of the Home
Ladderback Armchair attributed to Philip Clissett Ladder-back armchair with five graduated ladders in the back, made of ash with a rush seat. Attributed to Philip Clissett, a chairmaker active in Bosbury, Herefordshire between 1841 and 1881. Museum no. 517/2005 Photograph credit, Museum of the Home

Breton chests and carving

A yew ‘garlands’ chest front, dated 1664, South-western Brittany
Photo credit: CEFA Auctions

For members interested in regional furniture outside the UK, a scanned version of a long out of print booklet on Breton chests and carved panels published in 1976 is now available

Written by Marguerite Le Roux-Paugam, Les coffres paysans du Leon et de Haute Cornouaille (XVIe et XVIIe siecles) is a study of fifty dated chests from western (or Lower) Brittany. A few of them date from 1550-1600, but the numbers peak in 1630-70 and decline thereafter. She argues that this trend matches the evolution of the area’s prosperity. She shows that there were two sizes of chest; clothes chests of 100-170 cm in width and grain chests of 180-215 cm. Selly Manor Museum, Bournville has an example of each.

These chests have a distinctive style of decoration in that Gothic tracery retained its popularity in Brittany until the 1660s and was combined with renaissance motifs such as  interlace. Other motifs include the lively humans and animals also found on carved woodwork in Breton churches. Intact sixteenth and seventeenth century chests are rare but chest fronts and loose panels have made their way to the UK. 

The decoration of chests varies within Lower Brittany. The title of the booklet refers to chests in the extreme north-western part of Brittany but the images include chests from south western Brittany, where ‘garlands’ chests are most common. The best collection of Breton chests is at the Departmental museum at Quimper. Enter ‘coffre’

Chris Pickvance

Regional Furniture journal, volume 33, 2019

RF 2019 COVER

A quick reminder that volume 33, the 2019 edition, of the Regional Furniture Journal is currently available to all members.  

This year’s contents: Volume 33 – 2019

  • Leeds and West Yorkshire Carved Oak Furniture of the Seventeenth Century, Peter Brears
  • HUBBARD GRANTHAM and I HUBBARD GRANTHAM: a Late Georgian Windsor Chairmakers’ Whodunnit, William Sergeant and Julian Parker
  • The Great Chair of Sir Ralph Warburton, 1603, Adam Bowett
  • Current Developments in the Scientific Dating of Wood, Martin Bridge
  • Triangular Gothic Stools: a Further note, Christopher Pickvance

In keeping with our policy of providing free and open access to back issues, the 2016 Journal is now available online here, on our Journal web page.

16th century furniture in the Burrell Collection

 

The Burrell Furniture Collection

Selection of furniture in the Burrell Collections, now available online via the Glasgow Museums collections navigator

At the Research in Progress meeting at the V&A on 24 February 2018, curators Rachel King and Laura Bauld gave a short presentation on the important collection of 16th century furniture in the Burrell Collection, Glasgow Museums, which has around 400 pieces dating to the period before 1685.

The Burrell Collection has a very full and fine selection of early, mostly English, oak furniture. It is both religious and domestic in origin, ranging from choirstalls, to chairs, tables, beds, hutches and court cupboards. These vary in style, from simple to elaborate, and though some are inlaid, few are painted or gilded, with one spectacular exception being the ceremonial bedhead with erotic carved decoration made to celebrate the ill-fated marriage of Henry VIII to Anne of Cleves in January 1539/40. The collection  also takes in architectural embellishment in wood, such as screens, panelling – including a complete room from Harrington Hall, Lincolnshire – doors, fire surrounds and screens, and an elaborate ceiling from Bridgwater in Somerset.

While the Burrell Collection is currently closed for refurbishment until 2020, much of the collection is accessible online in the new Glasgow Museums database. Full instructions for using the database are available here.

2017 Regional Furniture Journal

Cover 2017 crop

Happy New Year from the RFS!

A quick reminder that volume 31, the 2017 edition, of the Regional Furniture Journal is currently available to all members.

In keeping with our policy of providing free and open access to back issues, the 2015 Journal is now available online here, on our Journal web page.

 

Regional Furniture Journal articles now available online

The sharp-eyed amongst you may have noticed that we have gradually been making past Journal articles available on the Journal back issues page of this site.

Volumes 1 -23 (1989 -2009) – that’s 20 years of regional furniture research articles  – are now accessible to read and download for study and enjoyment. Included are all the special and themed issues of the Journal.

We hope to publish the 2010-2014 volumes shortly. The current issue (Volume 30 – 2016) of Regional Furniture is, of course, only available to RFS members, but the back issues will be published on this website after a three year delay.

Happy reading!

 

 

 

Regional furniture online

This week sees the publication of a blog post by the RFS chairman Chris Pickvance on an important medieval chest at Gressenhall on the Norfolk Museums Shine a Light project website. The Shine a Light Project “seeks to unlock the potential of the Norfolk Museums’ fabulous reserve collections, by making them accessible to all” and Chris’s post certainly does that –  looking in close detail at the construction, condition and history of the chest.

chest

The chest at the Norfolk Collections Centre, c.1400s from St Margaret’s Church, Norwich (NWHCM : L1974.29.3)

Another RFS member, Max Kite, has set up his own blog “aimed at raising the profile of James Reilly, a prolific chairmaker, inventor, innovator and entrepreneur in Manchester, England, between 1850-1889” which is worth a look: jamesreillychairs.wordpress.com.

If readers are aware of other online resources relating to regional furniture we would like to hear about them – email regionalfurnituresociety@gmail.com with your suggestions. Have a look at the Links page to see what’s out there already.

 

 

Making a Sussex Chair – video

We were contacted recently by Harry Rogers, Secretary of The Association of Polelathe Turners and Greenwood Workers (or bodgers.org.uk) who brought to our attention his fascinating films on green woodworking and making traditional chairs on a pole lathe (www.youtube.com/user/mrwindsorchair).

Making a Chair – Research: Sussex Chair Part 1  and Riving Wood for Chairs – Sussex Chair Part 2 begin a  nine-part series on the making of a Sussex chair, based on an example held at the Geffrye Museum.