Sofa designs

Included in the Part of the Furniture exhibtion are furniture designs. This example is a detail of a colour lithographed fold-out catalogue of sofa designs by Henry Lawford, 1855 called The Cabinet of Practical, Useful and Decorative Furniture Designs. Credit: The John Evan Bedford Library of Furniture History, University of Leeds.

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The conference is one of a series of events celebrating antique furniture alongside the exhibition Part of the Furniture: The Library of John Bedford which is on show until December 21 at The Treasures of the Brotherton Library at the University of Leeds.

Bedford of William Bedford, who died in 2019, left his collection of rare books, trade cards, manuscripts, artworks and objects to the University of Leeds.

The events and exhibition were curated by professor of history of the art market Mark Westgarth, rare book specialist Rachel Eckersley and special collections curator Rhiannon Lawrence-Francis.

Westgarth has dedicated his studies to the history of the antiques trade.

His projects have included Sold! The Year of the Dealer; Antique Dealers and the British Antiques Trade in the 20th Century, a cultural geography.

The 'What is Furniture History?’ conference is scheduled for June and interested parties can contact Westgarth via

Read more about the Part of the Furniture exhibition here.