The Furniture Makers’ Company, the City of London livery company and charity for the furnishing industry, is pleased to announce the launch of a new online catalogue – – of the Frederick Parker chair collection. 

This unique collection of 191 British chairs dating from the 1670s to 2015 has now been researched, assessed and digitally photographed.  The chairs are fully described in a clear and accessible format suitable for students, historians and anyone interested in furniture history.

The collection was formed mainly in the early 20th century by furniture makers Frederick Parker & Sons, to provide a resource of antique styles suitable for reproduction.  As the demand for reproduction furniture declined in the mid-century, the collection became redundant and in 1997 it was saved from disposal by the formation of a trust, the Frederick Parker Foundation, which was able to raise the funds to purchase a significant number of the chairs.  The collection is now owned by the Furniture Makers and is on long-term loan to London Metropolitan University, with many of the chairs on display and the rest in controlled storage, accessible for study.  Further chairs, especially of the late 20th century, have been added to show a coherent progression of English chairmaking from the 17th century to the present day.

The Frederick Parker and Parker Knoll Archive is also on loan to the university and provides a comprehensive account of 150 years of furniture production. 

David Dewing OBE, Past Master of The Furniture Makers’ Company and project lead for the catalogue project, said: “We encourage visitors, especially students in design, making and upholstery, to make use of this unique learning resource.  The online chair catalogue now enables people to study the collection remotely and we hope it will inspire further research and new directions in design and manufacture.”

The chair collection catalogued can be accessed here.

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