Frederick Parker Collection Study Day – Thursday 14th June 2018




Dr. John Cross and Christopher Claxton Stevens will be our hosts for the BAFRA Study Day at the Frederick Parker Chair Collection, housed at the London Metropolitan University’s Archives and Special Collections Gallery, Old Castle Street, London E1.

The study day will give delegates the rare opportunity to tour the collection of around 200 British chairs to close-study and discuss some of the most interesting historic chairs of specific interest on the theme of restoration and design.

The Frederick Parker Chair Collection spans the period from 1660 to the present day, with a particular focus on the 18th Century.  The chairs illustrate a mixture of great quality, original finishes and upholstery, as well as interesting restorations and alterations. There are also some fakes which were accepted as genuine when the collection was being composed. The more important chairs are usually only visible through glass; however, some of these will be brought out into the lecture room, giving delegates the opportunity to study them in close proximity, and have them turned over for close inspection.

Study Day Programme

10.45                  Registration – tea/coffee on arrival

11.00                  Talk – Frederick Parker and the History of the Collection

11.30                  Tour of the collection

12.00                  Close study of examples of interesting, historic chairs

13.00 – 14.00      Lunch break

14.00                  Close study and discussion of example chairs

15.30 – 15.45      Tea/coffee

15.45                   Summing up and questions

16.00                   Close

 Refreshments in the morning and afternoon will be provided by BAFRA but delegates should make their own provision for lunch.

The Collection

Originally the collection was formed by Frederick Parker (1845-1927), who set up his furniture business in 1871, together with his four sons. The purpose was to enable his craftsmen to reproduce period chairs and learn to emulate the fine craftsmanship of earlier periods. Following the introduction of the tension spring suspension system in 1931, the family business was rebranded as Parker Knoll and continues to manufacture today.   The collection and associated archive are now owned by the Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers and since 2002 has been on long-term loan to London Metropolitan University.   In recent years the Collection has been expanded to fill historic gaps and to illustrate more modern developments.

Delegates will be able to take away with them copies of books published on the chairs at various periods. Reference photography will be welcomed.

Our Hosts

The Study Day will be run by Dr John Cross, the Curator of the Collection, who for many years was a tutor and lecturer in the Cass Faculty of Art, Architecture and Design at the University. Our co-host will be Christopher Claxton Stevens, BAFRA Vice-President, who has been a Trustee of the Collection for over twenty years.


Full Accredited BAFRA members              –   Free of Charge

Other BAFRA membership grades            –   £10 per head

Guests of Members                                   –   £20 per head

Please reserve your place via BAFRA Head Office either by email to: or by telephoning: 01939 210826

Further details on the day and travelling to the Collection will be forwarded delegates prior to the event.

Further details of the Fredrick Parker Chair Collection can found via the following link: