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General News / Published on Friday, 16 July 2021
Sir Nicholas Goodison (1934-2021)

The Trustees, Officers and Members of The Furniture History Society are deeply saddened by the death of Sir Nicholas Goodison on 6 July, and express their condolence to his widow, Judith, and their family. 

The Society was founded in 1964, and Nicholas – though not quite a founder member, having ‘lost the roneo-ed notice of the first meeting’ – was inducted very soon afterwards by Tom Ingram (President, 1979-90).  Nicholas served on the Society’s Council for fifty-four years: as a Member (1966-71), as Hon. Treasurer (1971-90) and finally as President for thirty years, retiring in 2020. 

Thanks to his involvement, the Society and the profile of furniture history flourished – his approach probably best summed up by the remark ‘fun and scholarship go well together’ – and the editorial of the November 1969 issue of the Burlington, dedicated to furniture, noted that since the Society’s foundation ‘the study of furniture…has entered a new phase: it has acquired unprecedented professionalism’ and ‘makes a positive contribution to art history’. 

A considerable scholar and art historian, as well as a prominent financier, he published monographs including English Barometers, 1680-1860 (1968; 2nd ed. 1977) and Matthew Boulton: Ormolu (1974; 2nd ed. 2003), and regularly contributed articles to the Society’s journal, Furniture History.  Its 56th volume, published in 2020, the year of Nicholas’s retirement, was dedicated to him on behalf of the Society with gratitude and affection.

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