7 December 21: Anthony Russell “English Furniture Design Today – the great commissions of Luke Hughes”

With major furniture commissions in 54 of the 68 Oxbridge colleges, countless museums, palaces, boardrooms and churches, it is highly probably that you have sat on a Luke Hughes chair or around a boardroom table without knowing it. Despite a scholarship to Peterhouse and subsequent History of Art and Chinese degree, Luke Hughes chose to become a furniture maker. But an accident climbing in the Himalayas necessitated a more intellectual approach that considered the true requirements of modern furniture design. He has since become a dominant figure in the British furniture world with his revolutionary mantra of “flexibility” and “practicality”, not to mention the phrase “fine architecture is grossly undermined by bad furniture”. This lecture shows what modern furniture requirements say about our society today and illustrates many of the fabulous commissions undertaken by Luke Hughes, many beyond the scrutiny of the public. 

Anthony Russell

Anthony Russell  is a cultural historian, writer and artist. He has travelled much of the world combining painting with tour lecturing – principally to American university students on bespoke tours and to the Arts Society.

He spent six years as a consultant for Luke Hughes advising on the furniture needs of prestigious buildings throughout Britain, including museums, palaces, schools and cathedrals.

Now based in London, he spends much of his time lecturing and undertaking research. At the British Museum, where he runs outreach events and hosts visiting lecturers, he has been described as “Hugh Grant meets the Dalai Lama.”

Committed to the ‘search for civilisation’ and as an advocate of nonviolence, he is the founder of The Chandos; supporting causes that promote understanding and cooperation, on the committee for Uniting for Peace and a contributor to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Democracy in Burma.

He is author of the book Evolving the Spirit – From Democracy to Peace., commended by Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Laureate, as meaning a great deal to her. He was also Founder of the Brockley Festival of Ideas and a Founding Advocate of CIVIL-ISATION.

He is currently undertaking research for a new book on civilisation; what it is, whether we have it & how you get it.