New Book: Irish Country Furniture and Furnishings, 1700-2000 by Claudia Kinmonth. Cork University Press.

This major illustrated study, encompassing three centuries, illuminates a way of life in Ireland that has almost vanished.

‘Claudia Kinmonth’s astonishing work of scholarship and preservation records the richness of Irish furniture and furnishings across three centuries – an intimate and powerful expression of domestic life and material culture in a vanishing world.
— Professor Daniel Carey, Vice President of the Royal Irish Academy, Director, Moore Institute, NUI Galway.’

It contributes as much to our knowledge of Ireland’s cultural history as to its history of furniture. It investigates farmhouse and cabin furniture from all over the island of Ireland.

It discusses the origins and evolution of useful objects, what materials were used and why and how furniture made for small spaces, often with renewable elements, was innate and expected.

From the author of the award-winning Irish Country Furniture, 1700-1950 (published by Yale UP in 1993) this new book incorporates the findings of over 5 years of recent research.

Nearly all the black and white pictures in the 1993 book are now in colour, or have been changed for the better, and now include different examples (except archive pictures).

Many of the author’s fieldwork photographs from the late 1980s, have been digitised and will now be published for the first time.

The extent has almost doubled; there are an extra 120 illustrations; the main text has been fully updated and revised; there is a new chapter ‘Small Furnishings and Utensils’

Reflecting the considerable addition of new material, the time scale is also broadened to include discussions of objects and interiors up to 2000.

The book looks at influences such as:
traditional architecture;
shortage of timber;
why and how furniture was painted;
the characteristics of designs made by a range of furniture makers;
the incorporation of natural materials such as bog oak, turf, driftwood, straw, cow horn, flour bags, recycled tyres or packing cases is viewed in terms of use, and durability.

Chapters individually examine:

Stools, chairs and settles in all their ingenious and multi-purpose forms.

How dressers were authentically arranged, with displays varying minutely according to time and place

Why and how some households had indoor coops to encourage hens to lay through winter

How some people ate communally or slept in outshot beds, in the coldest north-west.

Look inside:

Claudia Kinmonth MRIA PhD MA (RCA) is Research Curator (Domestic Life), Ulster Folk Museum, a Visiting Research Fellow, Moore Institute, NUI Galway and a member of the Royal Irish Academy. She is the author of Irish Rural Interiors in Art (Yale UP, 2006).

November 2020 | 9781782054054 | €39 £35| Hardback 240 x 170mm| 576 | 440+ colour & b/w illust.