Dr William Cottrell — A Century of Colonial-Made Furniture

Fretwork cabinet

5 September 2019

5.15 pm – 6.15pm

The Whare, Tāmaki Pātaka Kōrero – Central City Library, 44-46 Lorne Street, Auckland Central Library

The Alexander Turnbull Library is holding a talk at the Auckland Central Library. Dr William Cottrell will discuss a century of colonial-made furniture – The printed image & colonial furniture Dr William Cottrell is an art historian specialising in colonial furniture, and the award-winning author of Furniture of the New Zealand Colonial Era (1830-1900) in 2006.

A former television editor, he quit his job to pursue a love of woodworking, design and history – which often means “poking around in junk shops”. Dr Cottrell says that New Zealand’s earliest furniture from the 1830s-60s can be traced to just a handful of London designers whose patterns were interpreted by migrant cabinet makers. By the mid-1870s, however, even small New Zealand furniture-making firms were producing their own ‘brand’ trade catalogues – actually illicit copies reproduced from the in-house designs of large English cabinet-making firms. His illustrated talk, “Patterns: the printed image and a century of colonial-made furniture” will discuss three aspects of pattern production that influenced colonial domestic furniture design: designers, manufacturer’s trade catalogues and publisher’s subscription magazines.