£40 – £85

Ernest Gimson Celebration @ Marchmont House

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Marchmont House



TD10 6YL

United Kingdom

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A celebration of Ernest Gimson at Marchmont House

Ernest Gimson and the art, craft and business of furniture design

‘The greatest artist among them’ and ‘the greatest of the English artist-craftsmen’ were how Nikolaus Pevsner described Ernest Gimson (1864–1919) in successive editions of Pioneers of the Modern Movement. Gimson was an architect, a maker of plasterwork and turned chairs, and a designer of bookbindings, embroidery and metalwork, but he is probably best-known today for his furniture. As a young man in London he was one of the active partners in the short-lived but influential firm of Kenton & Company and between 1902 and 1919 he established and ran a successful workshop based in the Cotswold countryside, producing furniture of superb quality for domestic and ecclesiastical settings. He was a central figure in the British Arts and Crafts Movement and a vital model for many designer-cabinetmakers up to the present day.

2019 is the centenary of Gimson’s death and a new book on his work by Annette Carruthers, Mary Greensted and Barley Roscoe will be published by Yale University Press later in the year. A series of study days and visits is planned to explore different aspects of his life and legacy. This first is based at Marchmont House in the Scottish Borders, where numerous superb pieces by Gimson and his contemproraries and admirers are available for close study. It will cover his life and work, the context from which his career developed and a variety of ways in which ‘the Gimson Tradition’ has extended into the 21st century.

An additional attraction is a rare opportunity to see the unusual furniture and metalwork of Gimson, Sidney Barnsley and Robert Weir Schultz at the Old Place of Mochrum, an ancient double tower house in a remote setting in Wigtownshire.

This event has been brought together and organised by Annette Carruthers, in partnership with Hugo Burge, as a Director of Marchmont Farms Limited.


Thank you to our supporters of this event:

- H Blairman & Sons - Sponsor - https://www.blairman.co.uk

- Arts & Crafts Tours - Sponsor - https://www.artsandcraftstours.com

See more info below.


Friday 10 May

** For those staying the night at Marchmont - please enquire directly for availability/ pricing options **

Evening Arrival at Marchmont from 6pm for those staying. A light supper will be provided at 7.30pm.

Saturday 11 May

** Pre-event for those staying Friday night **

8 – 9am Breakfast

9 – 9.45 am Look at furniture on the lower floors, for those staying

Includes Gimson, Davies, McCurdy, Webb, Lutyens, Pugin, Burges and Barnsley.


Main Event

9.30/9.45am Arrival at Marchmont for those not staying; morning coffee.

10am Welcome from Hugo Burge: Marchmont and the Crafts

10.15 Ernest Gimson: Life and Context

Barley Roscoe: Growing up in Leicester

Annette Carruthers: Gimson’s London Days

Mary Greensted: The Move to the Cotswolds

10.45 Max Donnelly: Gimson in Context: Arts and Crafts Furniture at the V&A

11.25 Coffee

11.50 Barley Roscoe: Gimson’s Furniture for the Family

12.20 Annette Carruthers: The Business of Furniture Making

12.50 Mary Greensted: The Barnsleys and Gimson

1.20 – 1.30 Questions & discussion

1.30 Lunch - included

2.20 Making Gimson furniture today

Hugh Parsons, Charles Taylor Woodwork:

Making Gimson Trestle Tables and other works for Marchmont

2.50 The rush seat chair tradition

The Chair Maker film and discussion.

Lawrence Neal, Richard Platt and Sam Cooper

3.30 Tea - included

Designing and making furniture today

3.50 Adrian McCurdy: A Local Craftsperson Displays Work and Methods

short film and demonstration

4.30 Nicholas Hobbs: Keeping Alive the Works of a Moment

5.10 Questions and group conversation.

Look at furniture in the house on top floor

Includes work by Gimson, Barnsley, Taylor, Russell, Lorimer, Spooner & Mouseman.

5.30/6pm Disperse


*** Optional extra ticketed events ***

7.00 pm Drinks in the Saloon & Dinner **optional extra with limited availability **


Sunday 12 May, 8.30am – 8pm

** Optional visit to the Old Place of Mochum, Wigtownshire - contact directly for more details **

Old Place of Mochrum, Wigtownshire, was altered by Robert Weir Schultz with furniture and metalwork by Schultz, Gimson and Sidney Barnsley. This is planned as a day visit with a long coach ride to and fro, but those who wish to stay in the West of Scotland can be dropped off in Wigtown or Dumfries or make their own way there.



- STAYING SATURDAY DRINKS & DINNER (book here online or contact us with special requirements)

- STAYING FRI AND SAT NIGHTS at MARCHMONT (subject to availability & cost - contact us directly)

- BUS JOURNEY AND TOUR OF OLD PLACE OF MOCHRUM (subject to availability & cost - contact us directly)


N.B. Please note that this programme is provisional and based on the availability of the speakers and is therefore beyond the control of the organisers Marchmont Farms Limited. We reserve the right to make any changes to the advertised program that may prove necessary. In this instance substitute speakers may not address the same topic as that advertised. Any such changes will be communicated as early as possible.



Hugo Burge is Director of Marchmont Farms Ltd, leading efforts to bring Marchmont to life as a home for makers and creators, after a 7-year restoration project. With a background in digital business and an interest in the Arts and Crafts, he is keen to find a balance between these different worlds and support sustainable creativity across them. Hugo developed a love of wood, Gimson and the Arts and Crafts Movement whilst at Bedales School. He is a Patron of the Borders Art Fair and a Trustee of wasps_ studios, both social enterprises that support artists and makers in the Scottish Borders. Hugo has a passion for the creativity, design and technology that shape our future.

Annette Carruthers worked as a curator with the Gimson collections at Leicestershire and Cheltenham Museums and has written numerous catalogues and essays on his work. In 1992 she published Edward Barnsley and his Workshop: Arts and Crafts in the Twentieth Century (White Cockade). With Mary Greensted she co-wrote and co-edited two catalogues of Cheltenham’s Arts and Crafts collections: Good Citizen’s Furniture (1994) and Simplicity or Splendour (1999) published by Lund Humphries. She was a Senior Lecturer in Art History at the University of St Andrews until 2014 and has since been focused on writing – with Mary Greensted and Barley Roscoe – a new study of Ernest Gimson.

Max Donnelly is Curator of Nineteenth-Century Furniture at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Recent research has resulted in a chapter on furniture for the monograph, C.F.A. Voysey: Arts and Crafts Designer (V&A Publishing, 2016), and contributions to The Story of Scottish Design, the first major survey of Scottish design history, published to coincide with the opening of V&A Dundee (Thames & Hudson / V&A Publishing, 2018). He also writes for journals including The Burlington Magazine, and has lectured in the UK, Europe, North America and China.

Mary Greensted (nee Comino) built up Cheltenham museum’s Arts and Crafts Movement collections over many years in various curatorial roles and as Deputy Director. She wrote Gimson and the Barnsleys: ‘Wonderful Furniture of a Commonplace Kind’, published by Evans Brothers in 1980. She edited The Arts and Crafts Movement in the Cotswolds (Alan Sutton 1992) and with Sophia Wilson co-edited the third Cheltenham catalogue Originality and Initiativein 2003. She has since worked with Leicester Museums on a website gimson.leicester.gov.uk and an extremely popular exhibition, Craft and Design: Ernest Gimson and the Arts & Crafts Movement,at the New Walk Museum in 2009.

Nicholas Hobbs has been a designer-maker of furniture for churches and private homes since 1993. Trained at the Barnsley-influenced Loughborough College, he has embraced traditional Arts and Crafts practice, creating simple functional design richly imbued with abstract story and symbol. His furniture for Lincoln Cathedral completed in 2017 is a contemporary interpretation, commensurate in scale to the work of Gimson in Westminster Cathedral. He has been a Guardian at the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings and is currently a member of the Liturgy and Furnishings committee at the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England. He has recently relocated his workship from Derbyshire to North Cumbria.

Adrian McCurdy has lived and worked in the Scottish Borders for 40 years, first as a painter and since 1998 concentrating on furniture making. With an Arts and Crafts background and through his own research on early oak furniture he has discovered a preference for making predominately by hand. Craft skills and design are both traditional and contemporary in his work.

Lawrence Neal has worked as a maker of turned chairs since 1966, following in the footsteps of his father Neville Neal, who was himself a pupil of Gimson’s first chairmaker, Edward Gardiner. Lawrence makes between 120 and 130 chairs a year at his workshop in Stockton near Rugby, Warwickshire, mostly working to Gimson’s designs and templates. In 2018 he was able to take on two apprentices, Richard Platt and Sam Cooper, and plans are in hand to transfer the workshop to Marchmont Farms when Lawrence retires.

Hugh Parsons, furniture designer at Charles Taylor Woodwork (CTW) in Dalkeith, will talk on behalf of Charles Taylor. CTW has specified and crafted a wide range of architectural joinery, fitted furniture and free standing pieces for Marchmont sympathetic to the early 20th-century Lorimer interventions, including a set of trestle tables based on Gimson’s 1914 design for the Art Workers’ Guild in London. Hugh will talk about how he developed the construction specification for the trestle tables working from Gimson's original hand-drawn sketch and his involvement with the detailed aspects of the complex manufacturing process. CTW works with numerous architects specifying and making woodwork appropriate for historic and contemporary settings, operating in much the same way as Gimson’s Daneway workshops. Recent conservation projects include the reconstruction of the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Oak Room, which is the centrepiece of the Scottish Design Gallery at the V&A Dundee, and the conservation of the Hope Scott Gates at Abbotsford House, Melrose.

Barley Roscoe is a consultant curator, writer and lecturer and a member of the BBC Antiques Roadshow team. For many years she was responsible for the Crafts Study Centre which is now part of the University for the Creative Arts at Farnham in Surrey but was originally established within the Holburne Museum of Art in Bath, where she subsequently became Director. She was awarded an MBE for her work there and is an Associate of the Museums Association and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. She is also a great-great niece of Ernest Gimson.


Thank you kind supporters of this event, who help fund apprentice/ bursary positions & extra trimmings at the event:

- - H Blairman & Sons - Sponsor - https://www.blairman.co.uk

Fourth generation family business in furniture and works of art specialist.


- Arts & Crafts Tours - Sponsor - https://www.artsandcraftstours.com

Specialist organiser of small tours, with some Gimson related tours coming up later in 2019.

A Gimson & Barnsley Tour of the UK

Private Presses & libraries of Scotland and Ireland


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Marchmont House



TD10 6YL

United Kingdom

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Refund Policy

Refunds up to 30 days before event

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