The Frederick Parker Collection

From left to right: a tool chest, a portrait of Frederick Parker and a chair from the Collection

The Frederick Parker Collection is a unique and outstanding collection of almost 200 British chairs, ranging in date from 1660 to the present day. The collection also includes a substantial archive of related historical documents, artefacts and some company information covering the period 1880 to 2001.

Frederick Parker & Sons Ltd was first established in 1871. The firm’s output of high quality, hand-made furniture, was supported by the establishment of a collection of chairs, from earlier periods, from which the firm’s craftsmen could take inspiration and learn the techniques of the past. A growing reputation for excellence during the first half of the twentieth century brought the firm contracts to supply furniture for ocean liners such as Cunard’s RMS Aquitania and the P&O liner, HMS Ophir.

In the 1930s following a collaboration with Willi Knoll, a German furniture designer who had invented a tension suspension system for chairs, the family business was renamed and rebranded as Parker Knoll. Designs marketed as ‘Parker Knoll’ were produced alongside the more traditional furniture and the famous Parker Knoll recliner chair, regularly updated and refined, has become a highly successful, quality product which is firmly established as a staple of British furniture excellence.

The Frederick Parker Collection is owned by the Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers (now known as The Furniture Makers) one of the livery companies of the City of London, and has been on long-term loan to London Metropolitan University since 2002.

To search the Chair Collection – a selection of images, with descriptions can be viewed on either The Visual Arts Data Service (VADS).

Or the Frederick Parker Collection pages on the website of the Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers.

The Frederick Parker Collection Catalogue is a work in progress and we are continuing to add items to it.

To search the PDF catalogue, use the keys [Ctrl]+F to call up the search box and enter free text.

A small selection of digitised items from the Archive:

Frederick Parker Collection - Parker Knoll chairs and settees 1956 Parker Knoll chairs and settees 1956. 9th ed. pamphlet, 32 images (FPBXC1_3)

Frederick Parker Collection - Cushion your life with Cornwell–Norton Jan 1971 Cushion your life with Cornwell–Norton. Jan 1971, 15 images (FPBXC5_1)

Frederick Parker Collection - Cornwell-Norton Price List fold out leaflet The Cornwell-Norton price list (fold out leaflet), Jan 1969 3 images, price list and dimensions of furniture. (FPBXC5_10)

Frederick Parker Collection - Pick a Parker Knoll 1968 Pick a Parker Knoll. 1968, 19 images (FPBXC5_11)

Frederick Parker Collection - New Principle applied to old practice 1938 New Principle applied to old practice. 1938, 13 images (FPBXC5_2)

Frederick Parker Collection - Parker-Knoll fold out brochure August 61 Parker Knoll fold out brochure. Aug ’61, 7 pages (FPBXC5_4)

Frederick Parker Collection - Parker Knoll Green and bw fold out leaflet Parker Knoll green, black and white fold out leaflet. Jan 1959, 10 pages (FPBXC5_5a)

Frederick Parker Collection - Parker-Knoll booklet Jan 1963 Parker Knoll booklet. Jan 1963, 37 pages (FPBXC5_5b)

Frederick Parker Collection - FP family photo 2 early C20th  FP family photo 2 early C20th (FPBXPBW001_2) 

Frederick Parker Collection - FP family portrait early C20th  FP family portrait early C20th (FPBXPBW001_4)

Frederick Parker Collection - Parker Knoll fleet of lorries photo 1972 PK fleet of lorries photo – 1972 (FPBXPC001_3)

Frederick Parker Collection - Demonic face carving  Demonic face carving (FPDS072)

Frederick Parker Collection - Cherubic face carving  Cherubic face carving (FPDS096)

To make an enquiry about the contents of the Collection, using it or to book a visit please contact us at specialcollections@londonmet.ac.uk Tel: 020 7320 3516

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