News

The Furniture History Society have organised a seminar focused on the antique dealer archives, generously donated by leading antique dealers to the Brotherton Library Special Collections at the University of Leeds.  These archives have brought together, for the first time, an extraordinary range of historic business archives of several well-known antique furniture dealers such as Phillips of Hitchin and Ronald A. Lee.  This event, chaired by Dr Mark Westgarth, brings leading dealers Jerome Phillips and Martin Levy in conversation with Joanne Fitton, Head of Special Collections, and Karen Sayers, lead archivist, at the Brotherton Library Special Collections, to explore the riches of these archives.  The event will highlight key items in the archives, some of which date back to the 1880s, as well as outlining their history and how they came to Leeds.  There will also be an opportunity to direct questions to the participants and to hear about plans for the future of these increasingly important resources.
The Antique Dealer in Fact & Fiction A Lighthearted Zoom Talk with Dr Mark Westgarth Mark Westgarth is Associate Professor in Art History and Museum Studies at the University of Leeds in the UK. He is founder and Director of the Centre for the Study of the Art & Antiques Market in the School of Fine Art, History of Art & Cultural Studies. He is author of A Biographical Dictionary of 19th Century Antique & Curiosity Dealers (2011), SOLD! The Great British Antiques Story (2019) and more recently, The Emergence of the Antique & Curiosity Dealer in Britain 1815-1850: the commodification of historical objects (2020). He was guest curator for the recent exhibition, ‘SOLD! The Great British Antiques Story’ at the Bowes Museum, County Durham. This will be a light-hearted talk about the role of antique dealers in fact and fiction and will cover from Dickens to Lovejoy!  Should be fun!
‘Pattern books, early trade catalogues and many other rarities’: the John Evan Bedford Library of Furniture History. Wednesday 24 March 2021, 18:00-19.30 (GMT) At this FHS event members of the Bedford project team from Special Collections at the University of Leeds will highlight some of the rare books and ephemera in the John Evan Bedford Library of Furniture History and explain more about the ambitions of the cataloguing project. Chaired by Mark Westgarth, the presentations will be followed by a discussion with the Bedford team and an opportunity to ask questions about the project. When the art and antique dealer John Bedford died in February 2019 he gifted a remarkable collection of rare books, manuscripts, artworks and objects to the University of Leeds. Assembled over almost half a century, the John Evan Bedford Library of Furniture History is an exceptional resource covering all aspects of the English home, from interiors and furnishings to lighting and metalwork, drapery and upholstery to architectural and garden design. Comprising over 3,000 printed items, many of them extremely rare, and in some cases unique, the collection includes furniture pattern books, designs for ornament and inventories of country houses. The archive is also rich in rare ephemera including trade cards, labels and pamphlets, many of which are unknown outside this collection. The John Victor Bedford Will Trust, with great generosity and vision, is funding a cataloguing project based in Special Collections at the University of Leeds to make the collection fully searchable and accessible.
A FREE talk on ZOOM on behalf of the Furniture History Society on curating the SOLD! exhibition, staged at The Bowes Museum last year.  For those of you that missed the exhibition this is a chance to see a wide variety of installation photographs and to hear about the themes and objectives of the exhibition, and to see many of the spectacular objects we managed to encourage to come up to The Bowes Museum.  For those that did manage to see the exhibition, this is also an opportunity to hear about the behind-the-scenes development and delivery of a major museum exhibition.   The talk takes place on SUNDAY 6th September 2020 at 7.00pm, and will last about 1 hour, with opportunities to ask questions via the Zoom platform.  The Furniture History Society are managing this talk and ask that anyone interested in hearing the talk could register an email contact with them and they will send out the link to the Zoom room and a password for access. Do email FHS Events Secretary, Beatrice Goddard at events@furniturehistorysociety.org for your free ticket!
The SOLD! catalogue is now published, and thanks to the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, and the AHRC (Arts & Humanities Research Council) we are able to make the digital E-Version of the SOLD! catalogue free for everyone – you can download the PDF version (9Mb at 72dpi) – here’s the PDF below; Enjoy!
A special theatre performance of the now little known, but important stage-play ‘Quinneys’ (1915, The Haymarket, London) at The Witham (Barnard Castle) for one public performance on 28th March 2020. The performance will take place at 7.30pm; a drinks reception will be held from 6.30pm. Re-staging Quinneys’ is part of an AHRC funded Impact and Engagement project; a small charge of £5.00 will be made to support The Witham theatre. You can book tickets here: https://thewitham.org.uk/event/quinneys/ The subject of the play is fictional antique dealer Joseph Quinney and his activities as a dealer in the early 20th century. The character of Joseph Quinney is based on a real antique dealer called Thomas Rohan (1860-1940) and offers a strategic opportunity to address key tropes in the history of antique dealers such as the relationships between antique dealers and fakes and forgeries (the notion of authenticity) and the relationships between art and money.
Our two-day research project conference, which took place at Temple Newsam House, Leeds in April 2016, was an opportunity to participate in, and hear about, research into the history of the British Antique Trade in the 20th century. Click here for details of the conference. We gratefully acknowledge the following for their support of the…
The interactive map shows the changing history of the locations of antique dealers in Britain from 1900 to 2000, and the relationships between antique dealers and the objects that they sold to other dealers, to collectors and to museums.