Short course
History of Furniture: Form, Fashion and Function

Friday 17 January 2020 - Friday 27 March 2020

  • Friday 17 January 2020 - Friday 27 March 2020

  • Seminar Room 1, V&A South Kensington

  • Course price £380.00 - £472.00

  • +44 (0)20 7942 2000

    9.00 – 17.30, Monday-Sunday (closed 24-26 December)

From Renaissance buffets to 1920’s tubular steel, explore centuries of English and European furniture. You will learn how form and design of furniture reflects status, preoccupations and lifestyles through the ages. Visiting the V&A Furniture Gallery, the course will also examine techniques and materials, as well as the work of key makers and designers.

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Philippa Barton

Coures Leader Philippa Barton

Philippa Barton specialises in the history of English domestic architecture, interiors and furniture with a particular interest in the planning of houses, the changing use of room types and the arrangement of furnishings, and the development of cabinet-making from the mid-sixteenth to the mid-nineteenth centuries.

The quality of the V&A Short Course speakers and the material they covered was superb; the gallery talks were also interesting and helpful to study. I was given an excellent framework for future study. Previous Course Student

Course Overview

Discover the fascinating way that furniture reflects social changes through the centuries and how types of furniture evolve according to the needs of the day often with telling contrasts between England and the Continent. The course will reveal its varied functional or decorative role, its place within interior schemes and will examine how the use of new techniques and materials could revolutionise the work of the cabinet-maker. With visits to the V&A’s Furniture Gallery, the course will examine furniture-making techniques and materials, including joinery, veneering, marquetry and inlay, upholstery and gilding as well as the work of key makers and designers from Boulle, Chippendale, Riesener, Hope and Pugin to Morris, Thonet, Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier and Charlotte Perriand, Marcel Breuer, Eileen Gray, Alvar Aalto, Charles Eames and Shiro Kuramata.


Course tickets will be available for priority booking for V&A Members from 9.30am Monday 6 May 2019. General booking will open on 9.30am Monday 13 May 2019, subject to availability.

This course has a Half Term break on 21 February • Refreshments served • Price reductions available for Seniors (60+), jobseekers (ES40 holders) and registered disabled people

Enrol Now

Short course: History of Furniture: Form, Fashion and Function

17 January 2020 - 27 March 2020

£380.00 - £472.00

Call to book +44 (0)20 7942 2000

Need help enrolling? Talk to the admissions team:

+44 (0)20 7942 2000

Open 9.30 - 17.30, Monday to Sunday (closed 24-26 December)