Online Seminar | The John Evan Bedford Library of Furniture History

Posted in lectures (to attend), online learning by Editor on March 23, 2021

Trade Card of J. F. Lacourt (Leeds University Library, MS 2241 John Evan Bedford Library of Furniture History).

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From The Furniture History Society:

‘Pattern Books, Early Trade Catalogues, and Many Other Rarities’: The John Evan Bedford Library of Furniture History
The Furniture History Society Online Lecture, Wednesday, 24 March 2021, 18.00 (GMT)

Members of the Bedford project team from Special Collections at the University of Leeds will highlight some of the rare books and ephemera in the John Evan Bedford Library of Furniture History and explain more about the ambitions of the cataloguing project. Chaired by Mark Westgarth, the presentations will be followed by a discussion with the Bedford team and an opportunity to ask questions about the project.

When the art and antique dealer John Bedford died in February 2019 he gifted a remarkable collection of rare books, manuscripts, artworks, and objects to the University of Leeds. Assembled over almost half a century, the John Evan Bedford Library of Furniture History is an exceptional resource covering all aspects of the English home, from interiors and furnishings to lighting and metalwork, drapery and upholstery to architectural and garden design. Comprising over 3,000 printed items, many of them extremely rare, and in some cases unique, the collection includes furniture pattern books, designs for ornament, and inventories of country houses. The books, which also touch on household life and management, date from the seventeenth century onwards. The archive is also rich in rare ephemera including trade cards, labels, and pamphlets, many of which are unknown outside this collection. The John Victor Bedford Will Trust, with great generosity and vision, is funding a cataloguing project based in Special Collections at the University of Leeds to make the collection fully searchable and accessible.

This event is free for FHS members and £5 for non-members. If you are a non-member and would like to attend, please click here. Contact events@furniturehistorysociety.org to register interest.

Mark Westgarth is Associate Professor in Art History and Museum Studies at the University of Leeds and also Director of the Centre for the Study of the Art & Antiques Market. He has been instrumental in developing antique dealer collections at Leeds; Mark is a Council Member of the FHS.

Rhiannon Lawrence-Francis, Collections and Engagement Manager, has operational oversight of the project to catalogue the John Evan Bedford Library of Furniture History. She visited John at his Guernsey home a few weeks before he died, and planned and managed the transfer of his collection to Leeds. A medievalist by background she is responsible for the rare book collections in the University Library and has a special interest in incunabula, early modern printing, provenance, and bookbindings.

Rachel Eckersley, Rare Book Specialist, is responsible for cataloguing the pre-1851 books, researching provenance, and promoting the collection. Previously, she was a postdoctoral researcher at The Centre for the Comparative History of Print (also at Leeds), a library digitisation assistant at the Wren Library, Trinity College, Cambridge, and a research fellow in book history at Queen Mary University of London.

Rosie Dyson, Collections Officer, is currently researching trade cards and ephemera. She is undertaking work to catalogue, digitise, and repackage John’s collection of trade cards and associated ephemera and has written several articles on her findings so far. Her background is in photography and digitisation.

Illustration from Jean-Baptiste Pillement, The Ladies Amusement: Or, the Whole Art of Japanning Made Easy, second enlarged edition, ca. 1762 (Leeds University Library, MS 2241 John Evan Bedford Library of Furniture History). This is the only known complete and coloured copy.

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