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JFS day two: FMC reveals seating’s time tunnel

350 years of chair history was highlighted as The Furniture Makers’ Company showed highlights from the Frederick Parker Collection, charting changes in style and taste over centuries.

Seven chairs are on display from the collection of more than 200, which was started by Parker Knoll founder Frederick Parker, and features chairs dating from 1660 to the present day.

The chairs on display are an oak chair from c1660; a walnut chair from c1720; a mahogany armchair from c1745; a walnut parlour chair from c1850; a Parker Knoll Utility chair from c1948 (pictured) and a pair of recycled plastic chairs designed by Jane Atfield from 1992.

The display on Hall 1 provides visitors with a snapshot of how furniture has changed over time, reflecting societal changes, behavioural patterns and styles of the age.

It also marks the start of a tour to a series of venues to raise public awareness about the Frederick Parker Collection, particularly to schools and colleges around the country to inspire students about British furniture and design.

‘We are excited to launch this touring exhibition that celebrates 350 years of furniture production and 150 years of Parker Knoll. The chairs are a small selection from over 200 in the Frederick Parker Collection, which is an amazing resource for design. We hope people who see the exhibit will be inspired by the diversity of the chairs, and we are especially keen for design students to be aware that this collection is a wonderful resource for ideas. We will be touring the exhibit to schools and colleges to give students the opportunity to study the chairs first-hand,’ said David Dewing, Frederick Parker Collection chairman.

‘The Frederick Parker Collection is a unique archive, and an excellent source of education and inspiration for furniture designers and manufacturers today. For Parker Knoll, celebrating 150 years of great British furniture and design this year, we have drawn on the recently restored Frederick Parker archive to develop Collection 150. Collection 150 celebrates our rich heritage as well as our founder’s commitment to develop sofas and chairs that are a product of skilled design, high quality, elegant proportions and supreme comfort,’ said Donna Bellingham, Parker Knoll chief executive.

The collection is permanently housed at London Metropolitan University’s Old Castle Street campus and can be seen by appointment.