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Antiques dealer Martyn Lister with the Brynmawr furniture.

South Wales Furniture Workers Remembered


The story of a group of Quakers working in South Wales who produced a range of furniture inspired by the Arts & Crafts movement will be recalled at The Cotswolds Decorative, Antiques & Art Fair at Westonbirt School, near Tetbury, England from 12th– 14th April 2019.

Exhibitor Martin Lister of InVogue Antiques will be offering for sale a distinctive oak dining table and set of chairs made by the now famous Brynmawr Furniture Makers in South Wales. Set up in the wake of the Great Depression of 1929, which badly affected Brynmawr, formerly a prosperous mining town, the story of the furniture factory has gone down in history.

In 1928-29 a group of Quakers arrived in the town to encourage industry and employment. In 1930, they were joined by Paul Matt, the son of a German cabinet maker. A trained designer, he raised £6,000 to establish a furniture business. Soon a Quaker school in York ordered 200 chairs and production began.

Matt designed a variety of pieces and drew on his experience as a designer in London during the 1920's. During that time, he had worked with followers of the Russell Brothers and he was greatly influenced by the simplicity of their designs which were in keeping with the fashion of the day.

Importing materials became difficult after the onset of World War II and the demand for high-quality furniture rapidly declined, forcing the Brynmawr Furniture Company to close in 1940.

Westonbirt House
Westonbirt School
Tetbury, United Kingdom

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