School of Art

Contact Details

School of Art
Aberystwyth University
Buarth Mawr
SY23 1NG

Tel: +44 (0)1970 622460

Fax: +44 (0)1970 622461


Welsh Folk Craft – Furniture

Despite Dan Jones’ special interest in vernacular furniture (for his Masters thesis he wrote on The History of Welsh Domestic Art from the Sixteenth Century, as Exhibited in the Native Furniture, 1925) the collection barely developed beyond a small number of country chairs, settles, oak coffers, tool chests and cupboards, probably due to restricted space in the Arts and Crafts Gallery.

Cwpwrdd Tridarn, an oak court cupboard.

Cwpwrdd Tridarn, an oak court cupboard.

In 1925 Sarah Ellis of Narbeth presented the first major item of Welsh furniture — a cwpwrdd tridarn — an oak court cupboard which Dan Jones hoped would form ‘the nucleus of a collection of 17th-century and early 18th-century furniture and household treasures’ (Annual Reports, 1925).

Only an oak coffer can be attributed with certainty to Sir John Williams’ bequest, the other significant items of Welsh oak furniture are recorded as gifts in the Annual Reports - with the exception of a cwpwrdd deuddarn, an oak linen press purchased for £22 from I Balkin of Bangor in 1932. To collect simple utilitarian furniture of local manufacture seemed logical given the importance of furniture making within the Arts and Crafts Movement generally, and that furniture making was taught at the Art and Crafts Department in Aberystwyth; it was also introduced at Gregynog Hall for a very short time. The more recent model was provided by the Guild of Handicrafts at Chipping Camden where Ernest Gimson and Peter Waals worked, the latter of whom designed furniture for Thomas Jones and the Davies sisters at Gregynog.