The British Antique Furniture Restorers’ Association is a national organisation of craftsmen engaged in furniture conservation and restoration. It was founded in 1979 to safeguard the interests of owners and buyers of antique furniture and the antique trade.
It seeks to act as a bridge between qualified conservator-restorers’ and those whose love of antique furniture requires the highest standards of conservation and restoration.
All Full members are required to have at least five years as a conservation-restoration professional (the average member today has 23 years experience) and pass exacting assessment on their skills, knowledge and business credentials. Our members acknowledge the importance of continuous professional development to keep abreast of advances in knowledge, skills and technical developments in the craft
There are categories of Associate membership designed to assist students and college graduates in working towards accreditation and for whom programmes of mentoring and education are arranged.
BAFRA has a Friends Section for those with a love of fine furniture and allied objects, their history, conservation and restoration.
Objectives of BAFRA
The objectives of BAFRA were clear from the beginning:
- The maintenance of the highest professional standards in furniture conservation and restoration.
- The raising of the public awareness of the association.
- The sharing of information and techniques amongst its members.
- The promotion of study and research in furniture conservation and the advancement of public education in these fields.
History of BAFRA
The British Antique Furniture Restorers’ Association was founded in 1979 by a group of graduates of West Dean College, Sussex, England, having all completed the BADA Diploma course in Antique Furniture Restoration and Conservation.
This was a period of a spiraling antique furniture prices and the proliferation of unqualified and unskilled “Antique Furniture Restorers”.
BAFRA’s founders felt strongly that the public and antique trade needed some form of protection for their furniture as did the established craftsmen.
Development of the Conservation Profession
The 1980s saw the start of the development of the Conservation Profession of which furniture forms a large part and BAFRA soon became one of the main representatives in this specialist area. BAFRA is now a recognised authority on furniture conservation and restoration in Britain. From the start BAFRA demanded high achievement in terms of craft skills and knowledge of furniture, development and design and this is reflected in our assessment .
Representing the some of the best artist-craftsmen in the field of furniture conservation and restoration right across Britain BAFRA also has overseas members in Cyprus, France, Germany, Malta, Spain, Switzerland, and the USA.
Although not all the best are members, BAFRA continually seeks to achieve an even stronger representation than at present.
BAFRA’s Educational Remit
BAFRA aims to help Associate Members find their way into the profession. It is intended that as many as possible of Associate Graduate members should become the Full Accredited members of the future.
BAFRA also has an educational remit to enhance the skill and knowledge of it’s membership and to this end is committed to running a series of teaching seminars and conferences. See ‘up coming’ events.
Students at our affiliated colleges are encouraged to join BAFRA which enables them to take part in the BAFRA educational programmes and events at subsidised rates.
There are presently two affiliated colleges.
Chichester College Contact Christian Notley
West Dean College Contact Norbert Gutowski
On graduation the Associate Student Member will move to Associate Ordinary Membership. Ordinary Associate members may be setting up their own workshops and businesses or finding employment in Full BAFRA Members’ businesses, where they can gain the essential experience needed.
BAFRA has a new form of assessment based on parts of the Full Accredited Membership assessment criteria which will enable the Associate Ordinary member to achieve Graduate status. There is also important scope for Graduate members to progress to Full Accredited membership.
Moreover, all the Associate members have ready access to the help and advice from Full Accredited members on technical and business matters, which is an important basic feature of BAFRA membership. This vital experience factor is freely and often exchanged between all members of the Association.