A special feature of seven historic chairs representing 350 years of design was displayed at the January Furniture Show earlier this month (20-23 January).
The chairs are part of the Frederick Parker Collection, a unique educational resource on British furniture making and design which was started by Frederick Parker, the founder of Parker Knoll.
The collection, which is owned by The Furniture Makers’ Company, features 200 chairs dating from 1660 to the present day and an extensive archive relating to the histories of Frederick Parker & Sons Ltd and Parker Knoll.
The seven chairs that were on display were an Oak Chair, c1660; a Walnut Chair, c1720; a Mahogany Armchair, c1745; a Walnut Parlour Chair, c1850; a Parker Knoll Utility Chair, c1948 and a pair of recycled plastic chairs designed by Jane Atfield, 1992.
The small display provided visitors to the show with a snapshot of how furniture has changed over time, reflecting societal changes, behavioural patterns and styles of the age.
The exhibit at the January Furniture Show marked the start of a tour to a series of venues to raise public awareness about the Frederick Parker Collection, particularly to schools and colleges around the country to inspire students about British furniture and design.
David Dewing, Frederick Parker Collection chairman, said: “We are excited to launch this touring exhibition which celebrates 350 years of furniture production and 150 years of Parker Knoll. The chairs are a small selection from over 200 in the Frederick Parker Collection, which is an amazing resource for design.”
Donna Bellingham, chief executive of Parker Knoll, said: “The Frederick Parker Collection is a unique archive, and an excellent source of education and inspiration for furniture designers and manufacturers today. For Parker Knoll, celebrating 150 years of great British Furniture and design this year, we have drawn on the recently restored Frederick Parker archive to develop Collection 150. Collection 150 celebrates our rich heritage as well as our founder’s commitment to develop sofas and chairs that are a product
of skilled design, high quality, elegant proportions and supreme comfort.”