The British and Irish Furniture Makers Online (BIFMO) project is a partnership between the Institute of Historical Research and the Furniture History Society. It encompasses research, resources, training and events to engage with the global community of academics, students, scholars, genealogists and the art trade. Our mission is to serve as the one-stop definitive resource for British and Irish furniture makers from the beginning of the 17th century to the early decades of the 20th century by providing the details of furniture manufacturers and suppliers: their organising structures, their clientele, the material they produced and the services they provided. This is an ambitious goal and one which will require the contribution of scholars, academics, collectors, amateurs and genealogists for years to come. However, the resources will be of interest to a wide range of scholars across a number of disciplines, studying furniture and design history, social and economic history, material culture and the decorative arts, local and regional history, histories of trades and craftsmanship, social and trade networks and so on – and also, of course, to curators, collectors, and practitioners and artisans working in the heritage sector and creative industries today.

BIFMO began in the autumn of 2016 and the first version of the database was published in late 2017. It currently contains 50,000 biographies from the Dictionary of English Furniture Makers, 1660-1840 and 20,000 London Joiners’ Company apprenticeship bindings and freedom admissions, 1640-1720. We are now in the process of revising and updating the contents of many Dictionary biographies and also writing entirely new ones about furniture makers across Britain and Ireland from the beginning of the seventeenth century until the early years of the twentieth century. They will be rolled out throughout 2019. Over the coming months we will also be adding several new sources, including Upholders’ Company apprenticeship bindings (1702-1772) and two previously published dictionaries, A Dictionary of Norfolk Furniture Makers, 1700-1840, and The Dictionary of Edinburgh Furniture Makers, 1660-1840. Please do keep an eye out as we develop the resource.

The BIFMO Team:

  • Professor Catherine Clarke, IHR Project Manager 
  • Adriana Turpin, FHS Project Manager
  • Dr Laurie Lindey, IHR Research Officer
  • Dr Adam Bowett, BIFMO Editor
  • Clarissa Ward, BIFMO Research Assistant and Subeditor
  • Michael Thomson-Glover, BIFMO Subeditor
  • IHR Digital

Please email Laurie Lindey if you would like to get in touch (laurie.lindey@sas.ac.uk).

BIFMO is grateful for the sponsorship received from the following individuals and organisations:

  • The Worshipful Company of Arts Scholars 
  • Mr. Robert Copley
  • The Foyle Foundation
  • J Paul Getty Trust
  • Sir Nicholas and Lady Goodison
  • Marigold Lamb 
  • Mr. George Law
  • Mr. Peter Scott-Edeson 
  • Simon Wedgwood 
  • Lady Anne Heseltine
  • John Makepeace
  • Michael Marks Charitable Trust
  • Sarah Medlam
  • The Monument Trust
  • One funding body and several individuals who wish to remain anonymous