Thursday 12 August 2010
Chapel chair by Alan Peters, 1977
Alan Peters (1933-2009) was commissioned to make the furniture and Peter Tysoe - the Devon-based glass sculptor - the coloured glass window for the small chapel in the new Swiss Catholic Mission in Westminster. The work in wood comprised an altar table, reading stand, candle holder, statue support, and life-size cross, together with 35 chairs, all made from English ash. Our chair is a spare that remained at Peters' workshop and which we were able to acquire from his widow, Laura.
The accompanying paperwork shows that a total of 1123 hours were spent on the project by Alan Peters and the four members of his team between July 1976 and completion in February 1977. Of these, 188 were put in by Peters himself, who charged for his time at £3 an hour. The full labour bill was £2,281 on a final invoice price of £2631.25. There is a letter in appreciation of the work from Father Paul Bossard, chaplain to the Mission.
Alan Peters, one of the foremost English furniture makers of the second half of the twentieth century, had a direct connection to the spirit of the Arts and Crafts Movement in that he served his apprenticeship with Edward Barnsley (1900-87) at Froxfield in Hampshire. After some time spent at the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London, in 1962 he set up his own furniture workshop at Hindhead in Surrey. Love of craftsmanship and of the countryside were parallel threads in his life, taking him through moves to Devon and then Somerset and through study tours of Japan and Korea. His influential book Cabinetmaking - the professional approach came out in 1985.