Members and their guests recently gathered at Harewood House in Yorkshire for BAFRA’s 40th AGM.
Our day started with delegates gathering over refreshments to register and catch up with colleagues, with some members travelling from as far afield as Scotland and the South Coast and staying locally the night before.
As Harewood House is home to some of the finest examples of Chippendale furniture, it was appropriate that our lecture was delivered by Dr Adam Bowett, renowned furniture scholar and Chippendale expert. Dr Bowett gave a fascinating talk, focusing on an individual piece of furniture, now owned by the Chippendale Society that had been purchased from the Harewood Estate some years before.
The restoration work and subsequent research carried out on the curved table with marquetry top revealed that the table had formed part of an octagonal room design by Robert Adam and was made by Chippendale. The removal of over-painting from the base had uncovered the original colour scheme. Adam had drawn two design proposals for the room at Harewood, the drawings of which are extant. Revealing the original painted surface had indicted the scheme that had been ultimately been adopted and was the more costly of the options. Sadly the room is long gone, having been re-purposed, redesigned and amalgamated into other rooms in the house. Dr Bowett also shared his knowledge and understanding of the various woods Chippendale used for in his marquetry, how they were prepared and used to create such outstanding artefacts. During the lecture, other examples of Chippendale furniture were discussed including many that remain in the
collection at Harewood House and which delegates were able to view during the subsequent tour. One example was the lantern pedestal as shown on the right. The lecture was followed by a lively Q&A session which could easily have used up the rest of the morning had there been time!
After the lecture delegates were divided into two groups and walked to the house to enjoy a close-study tour of the house itself in the company of Harewood’s curatorial staff and guides.
Our hosts had carefully planned the tour to enable our members to focus on the many splendid examples of Chippendale furniture.
Cabinets and commodes were opened for close inspection.
Members were also allowed unprecedented ‘behind the ropes’ access to examine the construction of artefacts, materials and other features.
After the tours the two groups met up again for a hot buffet lunch.
This was the opportunity to catch up with friends and colleagues and discuss on-going work and experiences before the main business of the AGM in the afternoon.
The AGM consisted of status reports on membership, finances, marketing and future plans and events. Clive Payne, full Accredited member since 1997, was unanimously elected in as new BAFRA Chairman. The minutes of the AGM are now available from Head Office. This was also the time for Jim Broughton, out-going chairman, to officially welcome two new full BAFRA members, Janusz Chyrowski and Phil Lyons and present them with their accreditation certificates.
Members’ guests were free to enjoy the delights of the gardens at Harewood, as the sun put in a welcome appearance before the meeting wound up. Our thanks to all the staff at Harewood House for making our AGM such a success.