Dickinson’s Real Deal came from Penrith on the 15th of March, giving David Dickinson the opportunity to visit Keswick Museum, which has a strong link with Cumbria’s Arts & Crafts furniture designers.
Dickinson’s Real Deal gives members of the public the chance to sell their antiques and collectibles, either to a dealer or via an auction. Since items have to be transportable, Arts & Crafts furniture doesn’t generally get a look in. However at Penrith, David was at least able to visit the Keswick Museum, which houses a collection of work by the Keswick School of Industrial Arts. The KSIA was a renowned Arts & Crafts school, established by Canon Rawnsley, a founder of the National Trust and friend of Beatrix Potter, in 1883. In 1893 the school moved to premises purpose-built by the renowned Lancashire architects Paley, Austin and Paley. Here, the students continued to produce decorative Arts & Crafts metalwork until the school closed in 1884 – 101 years after it was established. The building is now in commercial use.
Keswick museum, which describes itself as a Victorian Cabinet of Curiosities, was similarly purpose-built. Established in 1875, it is the oldest museum in Cumbria. While furniture is not represented, there are some excellent repoussé panels, of the kind Shapland and Petter used in their Arts & Crafts furniture. John Ruskin, an associate of Arts & Crafts furniture designer and architect Baillie Scott, was instrumental in getting the KSIA established.
Antique dealers in the Ribble Valley or Preston are an excellent source of good quality Arts & Crafts furniture.
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