The History and Culture of Chairs
6 April 2022
Digby hall , hound street, sherborne at 3 pm and 7 pm
George Jacob, French, 1780-1785
Christopher Dresser, English, 1880-1883
Sitting down is such an integral and utilitarian part of our lives that one would think that there is a basic type chair, of which ‘finely designed’ chairs are but a variation. The fact is however that there no such thing as a ‘standard’ chair, and even the convention of sitting on chairs is not universally established. This lecture is about the cultural significance of sitting, and of the chairs on which we sit – from benches (from which the words ‘bank’ and ‘banquet’ come) to bishops’ thrones (from which the word ‘cathedral’ comes).
Andrew Spira studied at the Courtauld Institute and Kings College, London. For several years, he worked at the Temple Gallery, London (specialists in Byzantine, Russian and Greek icons) and as a curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum where he worked on the British Galleries and for the Silver, Metalwork and Jewellery Department. Subsequently he was Programme Director at Christie’s Education for 14 years. Besides lecturing extensively on a wide range of subjects, he has taken numerous groups (including ADFAS and Arts Society groups) on cultural visits to Russia, Armenia, Georgia, Romania, Crete, Turkey, Tunisia and all over Europe. His book The Avant-Garde Icon, on the relationship between Russian icons and Russian Avant-Garde art, was published in 2008. His two books on the relationship between art and personal identity, from the Middle Ages to the present day, are to be published in July 2020.