Furniture History

Receipt for a tea table

This 12 week course, taught on Saturdays, traces the historic development of British furniture from the 16th to the 21st century. Each week we visit a museum or historic house, following a chronology of the construction, style and use of furniture over four centuries. Venues include Ham House, Strawberry Hill House, Osterley Park, the Sir John Soane’s Museum, Leighton House, Eltham Palace, Willow Road, the modernist Hampstead home of architect Erno Goldfinger, and the V & A.

We will look at how styles change over time, and how those changes relate to the way people lived. We will explore themes such as the influence of global trade, the quest for novelty, the relationship of architecture to furniture, the role of patronage, the influence of the ancient world, the role of technology and industrialisation in design change, and perhaps most importantly how social mobility has shaped furniture.

The tutors on the course are Dr Amanda Girling-Budd and Dr John Cross, both of whom are knowledgeable and experienced design historians with PhDs in the History of Design from the Royal College of Art, and both also work at the bench as furniture makers and restorers.

All entrance fees to museums and galleries are included in the course fee. All the venues we will visit are accessible by public transport. Teaching hours are normally 10.00am to 4.00pm. The course is limited to 8 students.

For more details and a course outline, email us at

course details

27 April to 13 July 2019 – Saturdays

£485 per person

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news about our courses.

You have successfully subscribed