Visitors to the European Department of the Royal Ontario Museum quickly realize that the colelctions are particularly strong in two fields -- Elgish furniture and English ceramics. The collection of English furniture was launched shortly after the Museum was founded, with the help of a small group of friends of the Museum. Through purchases and gifts and bequests the collection has continued to grow, with the bequest of the late Gerald Larkin providing perhaps some of the most important additions.
This book, which will be valuable to all those interested in English furniture, undertaken by a newly apoointed Curator in the course of becoming familiar with the materials in his charge. It developed into the present form in order to provide as much as possible of the background of the objects in the Museum, and it now provides interesting insights into English social history as well as information on furniture. The result is an attractive, with illustrations pleasingly arranged throughout the text for convenient reference; it will serve as a useful guide to those already familiar with the subject, and at the same time provide an introduction to an important field of artistic expression that has not yet enjoyed the popularity of some other areas. Each section of the book contains a description of the setting against which the furniture was usually placed, as well as a discussion of developments in design and construction, and comments on individual pieces int he Museum collection. The illustrations, an important part of the volume, show the wide range of furniture to be found in the collection, and the catalogue descriptions at the end of the book indicate the donors of individual pieces, and thus the extent to which the collection has benefited from the interest and generosity of many persons.
About the author
GERARD BRETT was born in Belfast, and was educated at schools in Ireland and England and at Oxford. He was Assistant Keeper in the Victoria and Albert Museum from 1938 to 1939 and again from 1946 to 1947. He came to Toronto to take the place of Dr. C. Currelly as Director of the Royal Ontario Museum of Archaeology, and held this position until 1955 when, for reasons of health, he resigned to become Curator of the European Department. Mr. Brett is now Research Curator of this Department.