When we first saw this dining set, it wasn't like most of the others we come across on our travels. The unusual right angled table legs and the square shape of the chairs set it apart from most.
Needing a lot of restoration, the table top was in a sorry state heavily discoloured with scratches, water marks, scuffs and scrapes all over. A job like this was way beyond our capabilities so off it went to the experts; Wynn Griffiths & Tarr. What came back was pure wizardry. Although still showing some signs of previous use, the table's new finish is incredible and we only wish we had some before photos to show this amazing transformation.
With a gleaming table and rejuvenated chairs in hand, the next challenge was to identify the set, as there are no obvious maker's marks or stamps, just an '&' under the seat pads though it could also be seen as '8c'.
After contacting countless dealers, shops, museums and message boards/forums we were told that it was likely to be British made as Scandinavian tables mostly have removable legs. Borge Morgensen, Gordon Russell, Habitat and Heals were a few names mentioned but after a flick through the book 'Modern British Furniture: Design Ingenuity Since 1945' we noticed the set had similar traits to some pieces of Gordon Russell.
After a bit more research, we can confirm that set was designed by Ron Carter for Gordon Russell and this range was called 'The Farncombe Group'. Inspired by Scandinavian design, Ron Carter also enjoyed a 13-year relationship with Nottingham based furniture manufacturer, Stag for whom he acted as design consultant.
Carter, who died in 2013 aged 86 was described as 'the foremost furniture designer of his generation'. Users of the British Library, in London, sit gratefully cocooned in ultra-comfortable leather-seated chairs purpose-designed by him.
The Farncombe Group consisted of an extensive range of dining room, living room and bedroom furniture. Made from rich dark American black walnut, it was reassuringly solid without being heavy. The straight lines of the storage cabinet was echoed in their strip handles and the sledge-like connecting bar on the dining chair.
In used condition, the table features some nibbles to the veneer along the centre of the table where it separates, although these have been blended in and are now ultra smooth to the touch. The chairs have also had a clean and an oil but also show signs of their previous life with wear including knocks, bumps, scratching and some nicks out of the vinyl as can be seen from the photographs.
The table measures approximately 122cm long or 183cm when fully opened, 81cm wide and 73cm tall with an under table height of 63.5cm. Each of the six chairs measure approximately 49cm wide, 46cm deep and 72.5cm tall with a seat height of 44cm.