We research as well as buy and sell mid-century vintage and retro furniture
We’re so passionate about what we buy and sell that we’re always on the look out for original catalogues , price lists and any design books from the 1950s , 1960s and 1970s . We’re always looking to add to our library and discover new information about the history of pieces we deal in .
About 7 years ago we bought an unusual chest of drawers and matching lower chest which we soon sold . We recently managed to find another of the lower chests which had obviously been a dressing table . On both occasions the mirror was missing . In the intervening years we bought a rare and interesting book published in 1953 and written by David Joel who had managed a small up-market furniture maker mainly known for Art Deco pieces from the 1920s and 1930s . In that book is an illustration showing a full suite of bedroom furniture of the design we now have again !
The Adventure of British Furniture 1851-1951 cost 63 shillings in 1953 which according to a historic inflation calculator is the equivalent of over £83 today ! No wonder it’s a rare book , as that was around 40% of an average weekly wage at a time of higher taxation . Today the average wage in the UK is over £500 . Also the subject matter wouldn’t have been of great interest to many . Although it was meant to cover a 100 years of British furniture design it was mainly a brief and highly selective look at historical pieces with the much of the content showing pieces made in the UK after the end of the 2nd World War up until the Festival of Britain exhibition of 1951 . It also describes in some detail the problems faced by makers as a result of the economic and other problems which held back the furniture industry following the war .
Lo and behold when leafing through what to me is an interesting book what do I find but an illustration and caption for the suite . It’s described as being in Pacific walnut and abura by Leslie T Corke for Finewood Products Ltd 1952 . I can find nothing on the internet about either Leslie Corke or Finewood Products Ltd so if anybody reading this can provide any further information it will be of interest to me .
The design is unlike anything else I’ve seen by other makers and designers of the time and like all British furniture of the period that was aimed at the premium end of the market it will have been beyond most peoples budgets . Its of a style that would have been considered extremely adventurous compared to the very boring Utility wartime furniture and the standard pieces made by most makers which was mainly a continuation of 1930s style .