The conferences organised by Stichting Ebenist in the Netherlands, in the field of furniture and wooden object conservation, attract an international audience, and the latest conference, 8-9 November 2012, has been the most successful to date, with something like 250 delegates from over 35 countries. In the picture above all the speakers have been gathered at the end of the conference to receive the thanks of the Stichting Ebenist committee, and a small gift, this time a kit with which one can build, in miniature, a famous chair designed by Gerrit Rietveld. Temple Newsam House was well represented with the first two papers of the conference. Retired senior curator Anthony Wells-Cole talked about the research he and I have been doing in respect of the original appearance of the Japanese lacquer columns and mouldings made in the 17th century for a bed chamber in Huis ten Bosch in the Hague. After being broken up and sold in the Napoleonic Wars the columns etc. turn up in the furniture trades in Paris and London and get built into and added to pieces of furniture, including items supplied to Temple Newsam House. I gave the second paper, on the re-construction of the Queen Anne state bed at Temple Newsam. There are previous blogs about this project. It was a great privilege to be invited to stand before my peers, but an even greater privilege to tell everybody what a great museum Temple Newsam is, and support my colleagues, present, retired, moved on, and no more, in particular the late Christopher Gilbert, to whom, along with Anthony Wells-Cole, I owe my career. Christopher was one of the UK’s most eminent furniture historians, and also the Director of Leeds City Art Galleries, based at Temple Newsam. There has been a long history of excellence in research, acquisitions, exhibitions and conservation at Temple Newsam, led by knowledgable and dynamic curators. There has been something of an inter-regnum as all the curator posts at Temple Newsam are vacant, but hopefully soon there will be some appointments.
Posted by Ian Fraser