As the nights draw in…let some light in to the landscape…

john somerscales - side street, verona

We lit the fire in our showrooms today for the first time this season…and it helped to break the wintry mood caused by the lashing cold wind and rain….there are floods in other parts and more economic gloom ahead (so they say)…

What better reason then to come to a party, where the fire will be stoked again, lovely wines will be on offer, the meandering guitars of tp & woodman will soothe, the paintings of John Somerscales will inspire and the craftsmanship of James Smith will delight.

You are warmly invited to the preview party for October’s ‘art in the furniture store’ exhibition ‘Light in the Landscape’, featuring the paintings of John Somerscales.

Preview Party

Friday Oct 5th 6.30 -9.00pm in our Woodstock Showrooms

John’s impressionistic style uses watercolours, oils and acylic, more often than not painting ‘en plein air’. He takes his inspiration from the landscape of Oxfordshire as well as from Mediterranean destinations to which he is drawn to spend time painting.

This month, we are featuring as our ‘furniture piece’ of the month a superb chest of drawers by contemporary designer/maker James Smith. His chest of drawers made in a combination of fumed oak veneer, clean and ‘bog’ oak has been awarded the mark of The Furniture Makers Guild.

james smith - chest of drawers in fumed oak veneer, oak and 'bog' oak

Since 1958, when the Guild was formed only just over 400 ‘marks’ have been awarded in the bespoke furniture category. In furniture terms, this award is the equivalent of the food industy’s ‘Michelin Star’ and is afforded to only the very best bespoke pieces. James undertakes specialist commissions and can sometimes be persuaded to make a kitchen for you! Meet him here at the preview party.

Later in October we celebrate the ‘Art in Woodstock Festival’ again, Sat Oct 27th – Sun Nov 4th. As well as exhibiting John and James’ work we will be hosting work by Ian Fraser, Jennifer Newman-Fox, Sarah Wiggins, Peter King and Patricia Elmore. Over 50 artists will be exhibiting in venues around the town, there are some interesting evening talks, workshops for children during the day and a free expression space on the Town Square.

More Music!!

Sun Oct 7th Chipping Norton Theatre tp & woodman will be supporting Cooper Black who will be launching their new album (produced by tp) ‘Milestone Road’ tp & woodman (with ever expanding 5 piece line up) will be on stage at 8.00pm

See you soon


Windsor Chairs through the ages – art or artefact?

Rare early comb back Windsor chair on cabriole legs (private collection)

July’s ‘art in the furniture store’ exhibition will feature some fascinating chairs from my private collection, showing the development of form and style from the mid 18th century through to the present day, featuring chairs from different parts of the country, amongst which – some early comb back chairs, a ‘transitional’ hoop back chair with cabriole legs to the front and back and an extremely rare comb back child’s chair on high legs from the Thames Valley tradition, several childrens’ chairs of different styles and a ‘Giant’ Broad Arm Windsor from the Nottinghamshire tradition, a bold and beautiful comb back from Wales and more…these chairs will not be for sale, but we have gathered together an interesting selection of 19th century chairs which will be for sale!

Please come to the pre-view party

Fri July 6th 6.30 -9.30pm

in our Woodstock showrooms

chairs, wines (charity donation to ‘ROSY’), live music with woodman & friends, the garden (if the sun shines!)
and friends new and old….

I will give a short presentation at 7.00pm with the title: ‘Period?.. late?.. new?.. fake?..‘

Please join me and the team to enjoy the chairs, the showrooms and the party,
or visit anytime during July

Near pair of large yew and elm Windsor armchairs, mid 19th century - for sale



Warehouse Sale!!

We are about to hold a special sale of ‘pre-owned’ furniture made by ourselves, at our Kidlington Warehouse. These are pieces that we have bought back from clients for various reasons – house move, change of style /size etc. Some pieces we have re-finished and some we are offering ‘as is’. Our last ’sale’ of theis type was over 3 years ago, so don’t miss out!! There are some bargains to be had!!

Sale opens Fri June 29th 6.30-9.00pm, with a glass of wine and live music

Unit 12 Stationfield Industrial Estate, Banbury Road, Oxford OX5 1JD

Sale continues: Saturday June 30th 10.00 – 6.00pm

Sunday July 1st 11.00 – 5.00pm

a list of pieces on offer will follow soon, but the sale includes: dining tables (oval and rectangular Refectory tables, Pilgrim tables, Farmhouse tables, Pedestal tables), occasional tables (sets of and individual chairs, including upholstered, Windsor and rush seated styles), dresser bases, dressers with rack above, bookcases, corner cupboards, antique furniture and chairs and more….

Update: 20 dining tables

8 side / coffee tables

9 dressers / cabinets

70+ chairs

and more

all laid out (phew) in a cleaner, tidier warehouse!!!…waiting for you….

all will be available to take away or for immediate delivery!

Stationfield Industrial Estate is only 3 miles from Woodstock, on the Banbury Rd, Kidlington, next to the ‘Highwayman’ pub (formerly ‘The Wise Alderman’). Go to the back of the estate. Unit 12 is adjacent to Hunts Printing….anyone on the estate will know their location, but probably not ours as we have no signage, but will be putting up direction signs for the duration of the sale!

Next date for your diary:
Fri July 6th 6.30 – 9.00pm in our Woodstock Showrooms
Preview party for our July ‘art in the furniture store’ exhibition:

‘Windsor Chairs through the ages…art or artefact?’

I will be giving a talk at the party titled: ‘Period? late? new? fake??’.
The exhibition will include chairs of mine that have recently been included in an important national exhibition of 18th century Windsor chairs at West Wycombe House as well as unusual examples from the mid 18th century through to the present day. We will be offering a good selection of chairs for sale as well.
Live music with woodman & friends and a charity / donation bar in aid
or ‘Rosy’ (Respite nursing for Oxfordshire’s Sick Youngsters)

See you soon


2012 …and counting

Well…here we are again…only 182 days to go to the start of the 2012 Olympic Games….a Jubilee celebration before that….the Olympic torch comes to Woodstock on July 9th….and yes…the ‘art in the furniture store’ series of exhibitions opens again for 2012….

February features the watercolours of Jacqueline Hopkins. She paints, using unusual techniques, to create soft, atmospheric images, often inspired by the beauty of trees.

Please come to :
The Preview Party
Fri Feb 3rd 6.30 – 9.00pm
art, wines, log fire, live music, friendly folk and the chance to meet Jacqueline.
Exhibition runs to the end of February

‘One off’ furniture piece’ of the month

For our ‘one off’ furniture piece’ of the month, we unveil a superb 7ft ‘Quaker’ style table, with a one piece elm top…the grain will make your eyes ‘pop’!! If you like elm, you will ‘love’ this table! If we don’t sell it during the exhibition I may well be keeping it for myself!!
On other fronts, we can report a good ‘run’ up to Christmas and it was good to see many visitors in the period between Christmas and the New Year.
We are about to start a comlpete ’re-write’ of our website, offering really high quality photos,easier naviagation and concise descriptions of all the furniture. Work continues on our ‘on line’ shop featuring our accessories and we hope to launch soon! Watch this space!!
In the meantime, we hope you will be able to enjoy Jacqueline’s exhibition. Her work is still very affordable and her reputation is growing!
We look forward to seeing you at the preview party or at any time during the month.
Coming up in the ‘art in the furniture store’ series of exhibitions, we have:

Danny Flynn

Danny has provided the illustrations for numerous ’sci -fi’ and fantasy books, notably by Arthur C Clarke and Isaac Asimov as well as album covers for the several ‘prog rock’ bands. He will be offering the rare opportunity to buy some of his ‘originals’ as well as some ‘giglees’ and prints.

Shirley Vauvelle

Shirley creates wall hung and freestanding sculptures by fashioning ceramics to combine with driftwood and other ‘found’ objects and materials.  Her inspiration is the North East coat near Scarborough, where she lives.  She also paints, using unusal objects, her fingers as well as brushes in creating her work.

The 4 Artists Show

We are pleased to announce our affiliation with ‘Oxford Art Weeks’ in becoming a festival venue for the very first time. Throughout the month the May, ‘Art in the Furniture Store’ will feature the paintings and stained glass work of four artists who are all ‘Art Weeks’ exhibitors for 2012. We welcome the industrial and urban landscapes of Sarah Moncrieff, the gentle watercolours of Jennifer Brett, stained glass work by Tessa Hall and the return of Rod Craig with new and exciting work.

See you soon


Colour at Christmas

reindeer kiss by Joanna Scoones

“So here it is….Merry Christmas…everybody’s having fun”….actually you can catch ‘The Woodstock Snow Stars’ playing that at ‘A Night of a Thousand Candles’ on Woodstock’s lovely town square, Sat Nov 26th, 6.00pm – turn on of the town’s lights etc…
reindeer kiss by Joanna Scoones

and .. (it leads on nicely!!)…. they will also be playing at the preview party for December’s ‘art in the furniture store’ exhibition ‘Colour at Christmas’ which will then run throughout December…..

Preview Party: Fri Dec 2nd 6.30 –   art, jewellery, gifts, log fire, mulled wine, other wines, nibbles and live music from an array of musicians culminating in a performance by ‘The Woodstock Snow Stars’! 

The exhibition introduces you to the wacky world of Joanna Scoones whose colourful fun pictures please little ones and adults alike and are guaranteed to make you smile… Christmas cards, prints that can be personalised on the spot, cute stocking fillers, perfect prezzies for under the tree…. Expect harebrained characters, naughty reindeers, cheeky elves, goofy giraffes, funny elephants, pretty ballerinas, swashbuckling pirates …..and lots more to boot!

Hotmetal jewellery, designed by Jo Mitchell and featuring brightly coloured metals, glass and silver….

Mary-Lou Crown’s collection of sterling silver fashion accessories – simple, elegant and contemporary jewellery.

Also on show, will be a dazzling array of Christmas gifts for all pockets and tastes – candlesticks, clocks, glass, figures, lighting, ceramics, mirrors, platters etc., all tastefully displayed around the room sets of stunning furniture –  the trademark of The Real Wood Furniture Company…

Some of you may remember that in previous years we have celebrated ‘A Night of Colour’ which last year became ‘A Weekend of Colour’ …and this year to help counter ‘austerity measures and cut backs’ we are pushing the boat out and celebrating for the whole month!!
or visit anytime Mon – Sat 10.30 – 5.30, Sun 11.00- 5.00

Each month we unveil a new ‘furniture piece’ and this month we present a stunning waney edged slab of polished ‘Molave’  from the Philipinnes as a coffee table and a brand new addition to our furniture range – a cheval mirror in  oak and burr oak.

Please RSVP for the party to: / tel: 01993 813887        

Think Christmas, think a visit to The Real Wood Furniture Company…

See you soon…and all the best for the festive season!


Landscapes of the mind…..

'Evocation' by Rodney Salter

James Wheeler private view party – Fri July 1st 6.30- 9.00pm  

Exhibition runs to Thursday Aug 4th

I cannot believe where the time flies…another month has passed and it’s time to tell you about a new exhibition and another party!!  of which, more in a bit…

This month, the stunning glass artworks of Jo Downs have been much admired and we have sold several pieces to our discerning customers!!  We opened that exhibition to coincide with the arrival of Rodney Salter’s stunning abstract figures to The Sculpture Garden.  His exhibition runs throughout July as well….

So what delight do we have for you this month?  Not a well kept secret, but still exclusive…. eminently affordable, the result of the application of oils on to cork, with an eye for flow and texture… landscapes, carefully reproduced as limited edition prints by the artist himself and sympathetically framed by ourselves….

We welcome James Wheeler who studied originally at The Glasgow School of Art and takes his inspiration from his native Scotland, the Lake District and the wilds of Yorkshire as well as from visits to warmer Mediterranean climes.

Fri July 1st, 6.30-9.00pm is the private view party and you are warmly invited to join us for Pimms, wines, juices etc…. live music from the 40’s and 50’s by Katie Humble…and a chance to wander the showrooms and see what’s new.

We will be unveiling the largest single piece of intense burr oak we have ever come across …originally the top to a pedestal table dating to the late 18th century, by the time it found its way to us, it had lost its original base, so we have made a lovely ‘cricket table’ base for it.  It’s a cracker!!  First come….blah, blah…

Hope to see you there!


art in the furniture store….

art in the furniture store

We have created a new ‘gallery space’ in our showrooms and each month we will be featuring a different artist, alongside some individual and ‘one off’ furniture pieces.

Friday May 6th 6.30 – 9.00pm art, wine and music… 

You are warmly invited to the ‘Private View’ for our first exhibition featuring the stunning aquatints of Susie Perring.  She has worked as a succesful artist since 1984 specialising as a printmaker in etchings, line and aquatint.

For further information about future exhibitions, please read further…

The Susie Perring exhibition will run until Thursday June 2nd and then we will be featuring month long exhibitions :


We hope to see you on Friday May 6th and at future exhibitions!!
and I will try and write a better blog…next time!!

Coffee tables & Scrumpie in a mad mad world

Gate leg coffee table, Scrumpie, traditional upholstered armchair in a mad, mad world...

Hello again…it’s been a while…too long really…but there’s always something to be getting on with, which keeps me from ‘the blog’!  Another photo shoot with Scrumpie-pup has produced some great results and although the crop has gone wrong on this photo, in uploading onto the website, I hope you enoy the image.

Scrumps is 18 months old now and a joy (when she is not tearing the contents of the waste bin to shreds, stealing customers’ gloves etc.).  We are about to take our ‘Good Citizen’ bronze test, so watch this space.

Why is it a mad, mad world???  Read on to find out… although I am sure you all have your own, entirely relevant answer, probably better than mine….ah yes…and to find out about the ‘gate leg coffee table’…business is business, after all….

(small intermission for opening red wine)

“As we enter a new decade in a world where values have literally been turned on their head, we believe more and more in the importance of surrounding yourself with things that have longevity and simply make you feel good!  We believe our furniture is special and will do just that, for you…”

The paragraph above is taken from our new brochure supplement, about to be published…please e mail if you would like a copy!  The world does seem to ‘have been turned on its head’!!!  There are so many strange ‘goings on’ and we now seem to be in the thrall of the ‘big election’… it really possible that Gordon will get to stay at No 10 after all the events of the past two years??? …are the ‘team in waiting’ really ‘up to the mark’???  Will Vince get to be Chancellor somehow???
All these and more questions will be answered soon…but in the meantime, lets spare a thought for the people of Haiti…..Iraq…..Afghanistan……our troops…..our children……a woman whose car can be pushed down a Motorway infront of a speeding truck for over a minute without the driver of the truck noticing anything untoward (check out Youtube – Clio driver)….
£1,000 fines for putting out the wrong bin on the right day, or the right bin on the wrong day….£££ spent at Cheltenham races….£££ given for Sport Relief when everyone is feeling the pinch (amazing!!)….the news that the recession is ‘over’ ???…. the news that we are going to have a ‘double dip’???…that house prices are going to fall again???…that the housing market has firmed up and is looking positive???…that global warming is entirely unconnected to current practices???…that we all have to change our ways, otherwise we are doomed???…
It’s all a bit confusing and a lot ‘mad’….so , before I take ‘the Scrumpie-pup’ out for a late evening stroll, I shall try and concentrate on ‘the here and now’ which is to tell you about our lovely gate leg coffee table…..
in fact I will simply copy the lovely Rachel’s press release:
“The double Gate Leg Coffee Table from The Real Wood Furniture Company provides a striking focal point for any room. In a design inspired by a grand gate leg dinning table dating back to the 1700’s, this 21st Century version offers classic elegance as well as the practicalities needed for modern living. It is versatile in size, folding out from 48” by 14” to a grand 48” by 40”, as well as being resilient for every day use thanks to its highly polished burr oak surface. The multitude of legs that are integral to a gate leg design, whilst sometimes a hindrance for diners around a dinning table, are celebrated here in this scaled down version, where the intricately turned legs act as the perfect platform for the solid piece of figurred burr oak they support.

As with the entire collection, each piece is hand made in this country, using English timber from sustainable sources. Every table is completely unique due to the hand planning, finishing and the specific selection of the oak timbers at the beginning of the making process. This table can also be made to any size, in a variety of finishes.”

There you have it…available to view in our showrooms, obviously… where you are always welcome to browse and enjoy and where you will always be made welcome by ourselves and Scrumpie.

More news soon, about our planned ‘on line’ shop for some of our lovely accessories ( -opening June 2010- and about our 10th anniversary celebration, later in 2010, of being on our current site.  …..where do the years go??
In the meantime….take a deep breath, hold hard and smile… might be ‘mad’ out there, but…. the future is bright…the future is real…the future is wood…..and some…..

Until next time..


Musical Chairs

The Wychwood Comb Back Windsor Chair

It’s August Bank Holiday Monday and I am recovering from ‘Woodstock Live’… a festival of music which I organise in the town that gave its name to the greatest festival of all time…… (I refer of course to Woodstock, New York State 1969!)  We put on two days of an eclectic mix of open air music on the town square, for free and it seems like we do it every year now at the same time.

When not ‘working with wood’ I am very involved in music.  If you have been in our showrooms, some of you may have wondered about the various CD albums dotted around our showrooms.
The first ‘Guitar Orchestra’ CD cover combined my two passions, with a photo taken on a beach in Wales of my guitar collection leaning on a selection of antique rush seated ladder back and spindle back chairs with a few Windsor chairs thrown in for good measure.  The tide came in quite a lot quicker than we imagined and the whole experience was slightly fraught!
The albums represent past and present musical journeys of which the current phase is ‘tp & woodman’ ( )……..

‘Tp’ refers to Tony Poole, founder member of ‘Starry Eyed and Laughing’ who were kind of like Britain’s answer to The Byrds, who despite much touring, both at home and abroad and  receiving much critical acclaim in the mid seventies, never really ‘made it’ to the big time.  He recently contributed a track to a Byrds tribute album.  He is simply the hottest 12 string guitarist around.

‘Woodman’ is a moniker given to myself by ‘Big Vern’ (aka Mark Vernon, former manager of PJ Harvey and now looking after B J Cole and QueenAdreena amongst others) during the recording of the album ‘Lullabies for Lager Louts’ at Peter Gabriel’s Real World studios in Box, with the legendary John Cale producing.  It was a fun two weeks, albeit, some years ago now.  The name has stuck in certain quarters.

We describe the music of tp and woodman as ‘raga inspired sound and light’…. According to punters it’s ‘kind of like Pink Floyd heads East… Hank Marvin on acid… wicked guitars’….

More of this and the largest collection of fender strats (at least this side of Oxford St)…. another time………

The Wychwood Comb Back Windsor Chair

In the land of wood, there are some exciting things happening too.  We have recently added a new Windsor chair to our collection.  It is based on the design of a late 18th century Thames Valley comb back chair, but as ever we have altered the design to suit the frame of 21st century man and woman and in this case, we have designed a fretted splat for the back that speaks of both tradition and the contemporary.  At just under 50” to the top of the comb this is a chair that makes an impression.  We are using elm from a limited stock to make the seats and the top comb.  The splats can also be made of elm or from beautiful burr oak (as photographed).  The other parts are made in ash.  The chair can be finished in many different ways, but we really like the ‘light antique’ finish on the chairs in the photograph. It allows the beauty of the various grains to show through and can complement both lighter and darker pieces.  We call this chair ‘The Wychwood Comb Back Windsor Chair’.  The Wychwood Forest used to cover many thousands of acres of what is now West Oxfordshire, including the area around Woodstock, where this chair has been designed and ‘brought to life’.  The Real Wood Furniture Company is a friend and supporter of ‘The Wychwood Project’, established in 1997 to raise awareness of the history and identity of the area, and to work with local communities to restore its rich patchwork of landscapes and habitats within the Forest boundaries.  It’s a good synergy and reason enough to name an exciting new Windsor chair.   We are also founder members of ‘Woodland Heritage’ a charity dedicated to increasing the woodland area in the UK. ….’The Heritage Windsor????’ hmmm food for thought, but for another day.

Hope you enjoyed a relaxing Bank Holiday and that we see you soon.


PS For those of you seeking an update on the life and times of ‘Scrumpie-pup’…all is well in Scrumpie land.  She is just over 11 months old now and becoming a firm favorite with customers old and new.  I will post another pic soon.