Hi my name is Carol a sixty something happily retired and having a great time volunteering for Birmingham Museums Trust. This is my second year as a volunteer helping out at Blakesley Hall, a little black and white gem a short walk from the number eleven bus route. Amazingly it was here that I had the chance to design and make a Tudor jacket, it was during the hot Summer when I became Teddy Nurse for the day, the story of which turned into my first blog.
This year I am adding to my list of exciting volunteer opportunities. Recently I worked with professionals and other volunteers archiving textiles at the Museum Collection Centre (MCC). I even went on a course to see how it's done. I shall shortly be back at Blakesley Hall doing my bit, but I am thrilled to say I have just been appointed to the position of Art Librarian at Birmingham Museum Art Gallery, how cool is that. Being a volunteer is the best the very best thing to do with that empty corner of your life, you'll love it.
I was curious to know more about the William Morris fabric covered chair from the MCC that I so much admired so I thought I would investigate the chairs origins, this curiosity has led to the following and I thought you might be interested in my findings.
Recently as a volunteer I was lucky enough to visit the MCC which is wonderfully eclectic and well worth a visit. During the visit I came across a chair upholstered in what appeared to me to be a William Morris design. Emily (Collections Support Officer) and I stood in front of it speculating if it might be a William Morris copy as it had some of the same elements as William Morris’s 'Strawberry Thief' dated 1883(1) but different. Emily very kindly asked the curator Sylvia on my behalf about the chair, I was very grateful to receive the following information with many thanks to Emily and Sylvia for their kindness. The following from Emily:
‘Sylvia has told me all about the lovely chair you asked about, the chair was originally brought to go in The Grove in Harborne in 1870 when the house was built. The chair is upholstered in the original William Morris ‘Bird’ tapestry design. I believe there are more examples of this from The Grove in the V&A museum.'