The Frederick Parker Collection

The Frederick Parker Collection is a unique and outstanding collection of over 200 chairs, ranging in date from 1660 to the present day, and includes a substantial archive which consists of related historical documents and artefacts.

First established in 1871 by Frederick Parker, by 1901 the business had become Frederick Parker & Sons Ltd. 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 later, the Queen Mary) and the P&O liner, HMS Ophir.

Following a meeting in the 1930s 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 chair, regularly updated and refined, has become a very successful, high quality product which is firmly established as a staple of British furniture quality and design.

The Collection is owned by the Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers, one of the livery companies of the City of London; however, it has been on long-term loan to London Metropolitan University since 2002.

Further information regarding this collection, including a collection level description of the Archive (ca. 1880 to 2001) is held by the Archives Hub and may be found here: Frederick Parker Collection on the Archives Hub.

The Frederick Parker Collection Catalogue is a work in progress and we are continuing to add items to it. Updated versions will be uploaded periodically. This version dates to November 2018. (To search the PDF catalogue, use CTRL+F to call up the search box and enter free text).

There are images of many of the Frederick Parker Collection Chairs available on the Visual Arts Data Service.

General enquiries can be sent to specialcollections@londonmet.ac.uk Tel: 020 7320 3516

More details about the collection:

The Frederick Parker Collection

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