ABOUT US
1754-1780 / Chair, Thomas Chippendale ©V&A Museum
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The Furniture History Society Rules

The Benefits
of Society Membership

Find out more about the benefits of membership including annual journals, lectures, study weekends and overseas tours.

Membership
Council

The Society is governed by an elected Council supported by specialist officers. Council members are elected to serve a 3 year term and are responsible for ensuring the Society fulfills its aims and objectives. Council meetings take place quarterly.

Sir Nicholas Goodison – President

President of the FHS since 1990, author of Furniture History: Forty Years On (2004), a history of the Society, to be updated in the 2014 volume of Furniture History. His numerous publications and articles in learned journals include Ormolu: The Work of Matthew Boulton, London 1974. His interests in the decorative arts are wide-ranging and include commissions to contemporary artists and craftsmen. His wife, Judith, Lady Goodison, is also a prominent furniture historian and supporter of the FHS (author of a study of Thomas Chippendale, the younger, at Stourhead (NT), published in Furniture History in 2005). Sir Nicholas’s banking career included the chairmanship of TSB, which merged with Lloyds in 1995. As Chairman of the London Stock Exchange (1976-88) he led the institution into the ‘Big Bang’, which revolutionised the City and transformed the trading of stocks and shares. His artistic activities have been no less distinguished, including prominent roles at the Courtauld Institute, the Burlington Magazine, the Walpole Society and the National Heritage Memorial Fund. He published in 2004 for HM Treasury, the Goodison Review (report Securing the Best for our Museums: Private Giving and Government Support). His honours include  CINOA Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Arts 2004, Robinson Medal V&A Museum 2007; Liveryman: Worshipful Co of Goldsmiths, Worshipful Co of Clockmakers; Hon DLitt: City Univ 1985, Univ of London 2003; Hon LLD Univ of Exeter 1989, Hon DSc Aston Univ 1994, Hon DArt De Montfort Univ 1998, Hon DCL Univ of Northumbria 1999; hon fell King's Coll Cambridge, hon fell Courtauld Inst of Art; hon fell Royal Acad, sr fell RCA 1991, Hon FRIBA 1992, hon fell City and Guilds; CIMgt, FCIB 1989 (vice-pres 1989), FBA, FSA, FRSA; Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur 1990

Christopher Rowell – Chairman

Christopher Rowell is the National Trust’s Furniture Curator. This specialist role involves researching, publishing and advising on an extensive international collection displayed in historic interiors in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. About eighty of the Trust’s houses contain notable furniture, woodwork and picture frames. He has published widely on country house collections, including editing and contributing to Ham House: 400 Years of Collecting and Patronage, published in July 2013 by Yale University Press. This is the first in a series of Yale books, published in partnership with the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, on individual great houses of the National Trust and on aspects of its rich and varied collections. Forthcoming volumes will include Christopher Rowell’s Furniture in National Trust Houses.

Megan Wheeler – Honorary Secretary

Megan read Modern History at Christ Church, Oxford and in 2006 completed her DPhil on the persecution of Protestants in England in the reign of Mary I, before turning to Art History.  Having worked as a Specialist in Furniture and Works of Art for Bonhams Auctioneers until 2015, Megan is now the Lead Cataloguer on the National Trust’s Furniture Research Project.  She is also a member of the Regional Furniture Society, and sits on the committee of the Antique Metalware Society.

Martin Williams – Honorary Treasurer

Martin Williams trained as an accountant. For 20 years from 1976, he was chief executive of the Musicians Benevolent Fund. From 1995-2011, he was company secretary of four of The Prince of Wales’s charities and carried out projects for a wide range of organisations including the Royal College of Music and Imperial College. Martin is trustee of a number of charities including the Royal Albert Hall and the Kathleen Ferrier Scholarship Fund. He administers the Ouseley Trust, a charity supporting the choral liturgy of the Church of England. Martin was a trustee of the Society of Antiquaries of London from 1994-2000 and still serves on its Finance committee. He has been a non-executive director of Marlin Chemicals Ltd for over 30 years, and, currently, he is the non-executive chairman of the Edition Peters Group - international music publishers based in Leipzig.

Lisa White – Honorary Editorial Secretary

Lisa White was the Director of the Attingham Summer School for the Study of Historic Houses and Collections from 2004 – 2011. She read Modern History at Oxford and subsequently trained and worked as a curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum. From 1985-1999 she taught at the University of Bristol, and continues to lecture for the University of Bath, University of Buckingham and other organisations in the UK and the USA. From 1999-2006 she was curator of Decorative Art at the Holburne Museum of Art, Bath. She is Chairman of the National Trust’s Arts Panel, Chairman of the Executive Committee and Curatorial Advisor to The Herschel Museum of Science, Bath. In 1990 she published a major reference work, The Pictorial Dictionary of Eighteenth Century British Furniture Design and has written many articles on the history of British furniture. 

Additional Council Members
Marcus Rädecke

Marcus Rädecke is Head of Department for European Furniture & Works of Art at Christie's in London.  He joined Christie's in 2000 with a general focus on continental European furniture and works of art and a particular interest in early European tapestries, ormolu-mounted objects and German neo-classical furniture.  After an apprenticeship in cabinetmaking in Hamburg and subsequent training in restoration and conservation at West Dean College, Sussex, he worked in the London restoration workshops of Spink & Son and has completed an MPhil in the History of Decorative Arts.

Jonathan Coulborn

Jonathan Coulborn is the third generation of his family to run Thomas Coulborn & Sons.  He spent a number of years working for Sotheby's in Sussex, London and Madrid before returning to the family business in 1999.  His firm has exhibited at the annual fair of the British Antique Dealers Association (BADA) from 2005 onwards, and he was chairman of the Fair from 2009 - 2011, and chairman of the BADA itself from 2011 - 2013.  His firm exhibited at the 75th and final Grosvenor House Antiques Fair where it won the Gold Medal for Object of the Year.  Since 2010, Thomas Coulborn & Sons has exhibited annually at Masterpiece, and has also shown at other venues both in the United Kingdom and abroad.  Jonathan lectures on the history of furniture in the United Kingdom and in Spain.

Guy Apter

Guy Apter grew up in the antiques world of his grandfather and parents.  He suspects he was subliminally indoctrinated.  In any event by the time he studied History of Art at school, a life-long passion was initiated.  Repeated inter-rail journeys around Europe each summer from the age of 15 were spent visiting every art gallery, museum and church he could find.  Since then he has spent over 25 years in the family business with a ten year break in the middle during which time he trained in naturopathy, ran a working museum on the Somerset Levels and set up a company specialising in environmental and historical education.  Highlights included several guest appearances on Channel Four’s The Time Team demonstrating ancient technology.  These days, he is happy to say that when he is not out riding his bike ridiculously long distances up the steepest hills he can find, he is proud to deal in the finest of eighteenth century English furniture. 

Kate Hay

Kate Hay is Assistant Curator responsible for the British Galleries in the Furniture, Textiles and Fashion Department at the V&A, where she also contributes cataloguing for major projects including the Furniture Gallery (2012) and the forthcoming Europe Galleries (December 2015).  She joined the V&A after studying Politics and Philosophy at Oxford and working in the Civil Service and in the antiques trade, qualifying for the Museums Diploma while working at the Museum.  Recent research includes the production of 19th century pietre dure tables in Malta, resulting in the publication of ‘Mosaic Marble Tables by J. Darmanin & Sons of Malta’, in the Furniture History (2010) and 19th century garden furniture, on which she spoke at the FHS Annual Symposium, 2015. Her interests are wide-ranging and currently include cataloguing the V&A collection of Norwegian folk art and researching the early re-use of Chinese lacquer as veneer on furniture in 17th century Britain. 

Rufus Bird

Since 2010 Rufus Bird has been Deputy Surveyor of The Queen's Works of Art, at Royal Collection Trust, where he is the Senior Curator of Decorative Arts, leading a team of curators and conservators. Current projects include the completion of the three volume catalogue raisonné of Chinese and Japanese Works of Art and volume I of the catalogue raisonné of European Arms and Armour. He was closely involved in the recent exhibition at The Queen's Gallery, London, The First Georgians: Art and Monarch 1714-1760 and his research interests cover the broad church of British royal furnishings, but especially European gilt bronzes, British furniture and architecture. Prior to joining Royal Collection Trust, Rufus worked for thirteen years at Christie's auctioneers, as a specialist in the Furniture Department. Whilst at Christie's he was responsible for assembling numerous regular auction sales as well as being involved in a number of collection sales, most notably the abortive sales of Tyntesfield, Somerset and Dumfries House, Ayrshire. He is a trustee of the Dumfries House and Thirlestane Castle Trusts. 

Laura Houliston

Laura Houliston is Senior Curator of Collections (London & East) at English Heritage. She was Curator at the Iveagh Bequest, Kenwood from 2002 and worked on the recent major redisplay project (2013). She previously (1998-2002) worked as an assistant curator and research assistant at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, on the Victorian Team of the British Galleries Project. She studied Art History and has a MPhil in Decorative Arts from Glasgow University with her thesis 'Frame Making in Edinburgh 1790-1830' which was published in Regional Furniture History (1999). Her recent publications include a paintings catalogue of 'The Suffolk Collection' (2012) and the new Kenwood guidebook (2014) and she is currently researching and writing a catalogue for the Iveagh Bequest furniture collection.

Other Roles Within FHS

Other roles across the Society exist in order to support Council in their duties.

Sharon Goodman – Newsletter Editor

Matthew Winterbottom – Newsletter Editor

Matthew is Curator of late 19th-century British sculpture and decorative arts at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. Prior to thisrole he was at the Holburne Museum in Bath for 8 years, responsible for some of its most memorable exhibitions including Secret Splendour, which earned the British Museum Marsh Trust Award.

Sarah Medlam – Events Committee Chair

Sarah Medlam studied English Language and Literature at Oxford, before turning to furniture studies.  She joined the Furniture History Society in 1974, when she started working at The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, where she was responsible for the furniture collections.  She worked there for eighteen years before joining the Furniture and Woodwork Department at the V&A as a Senior Curator.  She was Deputy Curator on the British Galleries Project, 1996-2001 and later on the team for the new Europe Galleries.  She retired in 2012.  For the FHS she has served as a Council Member, Honorary Secretary and Editor of the Journal.  She is currently Chairman of the Events Committee.

Adriana Turpin – Grants Committee Chair

Adriana is academic director of an MA  run by the Institut d'Etudes Superieures des Arts (IESA) and the Wallace collection on the history and business of art and collecting, which is validated by Warwick University.  Previously she was Deputy Director, Sotheby's Institute where she specialised in the history of decorative arts. She has written various articles on English furniture, including the discovery of a table designed for Queen Mary's Water Gallery at Hampton Court. She also wrote on William Beckford's collections of furniture for the exhibition held at the Bard Graduate Centre and Dulwich Art Gallery, 2002-3 and completed an article on the new world objects in Cosimo I de Medici's collection in Curiosity and Wonder, ed. A.Marr and J.H. Evans published by Ashgate Press. She is now conducting further research into the display of the Medici Tribuna in the Uffizi. Most recently, she has written an essay on the nineteenth-century interpretation of the Renaissance interior.

Jo Norman – Grants Secretary

Anne-Marie Bannister – Events Secretary

Keith Nicholls – Finance / Membership Secretary

Jill Bace – Publications Officer