16 Apr 2021
July 6, 2011 - Filed under: Antiques News — Harriet

Preston may be a long way from the London Metropolitan University, but for anyone with an interest in Victorian dining chairs , it may be worth the journey. The University is home to the Frederick Parker Foundation; an outstanding furniture collection which includes almost 200 rare and historic chairs. Its founder, Jonathan Arnold, was recently awarded the MBE for his services to the furniture industry.

You don’t have to leave Lancashire to see the antique balloon backed dining chairs and other exhibits, however. They can be viewed online at the Frederick Parker website; either by downloading a copy of the catalogue or by clicking a link to the University’s own resource centre. The latter is the best option. Every chair in the collection is listed, along with a detailed description.

Frederick Parker (1845 – 1927) began furniture making in 1869, and quickly became a major name in high quality Victorian dining chairs, armchairs and sofas. His own furniture was modelled on 17th to 19th century originals, which he collected and, where necessary, faithfully restored, to give his workmen the chance to acquire the skills and empathy of a bygone age. At the time of his death, there were over 360 items in the collection, mostly chairs.

Among the more unusual pieces is a cane-seated Victorian balloon back dining chair , which Preston readers will note is made from Papier mâché rather than wood. Closer to home is a 17th century joiner-made oak chair from Cumbria. Many Victorian dining chairs copied this design; look in Lancashire and Cumbrian antique dealers for examples.

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