LaTrobe-Bateman, Richard (6 of 10) National Life Stories Collection: Crafts' Lives

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  • Subjects

    Furniture making

  • Recording date

    2005-04-12, 2005-04-21, 2005-05-06, 2005-05-23

  • Recording locations

    interviewee's home, Somerset

  • Interviewees

    La Trobe-Bateman, Richard, 1938 (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Hughes, Hawksmoor (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 6: Story about buying a house in Hammersmith which was saved from demolition. Reasons for leaving St. Martin's and moving to live in Somerset. Remarks on the birth of RLTB's children Emily, Will [WLTB] and Alice. Comments on not being worried about the practicalities of raising a family. Description of child care arrangements, remarks on MLTB's organisational abilities. Remarks on reading to his children. Comments on the importance to the family of sitting around the dining table together. Description of the family dynamics. Comments on Emily's ability to understand social relationships. Story about Emily pointing out the sexual inequality within the archaeology profession. Daughter's professions: archaeologist and banker.. Remarks on feeling a responsibility to MLTB and her career. Description of MLTB's career as an interior designer, running a gallery from a shop in front of their home and as director of Contemporary Applied Arts. Remarks on RLTB's neighbours' perception of him. Long description of employing a local schoolboy, Richard Cox [RC]. Remarks on RLTB not being highly skilled. Remarks on RC's career. (31:10). Description of RLTB's workshop in London and work made. Comments on the falsely high value of a table compared to a chair. Mentions having work shown in Crafts Magazine. Remarks on being over critical of his own work and on slowly building up his confidence. Comments on a piece of furniture having its own internal logic and RLTB not being concerned if somebody approves of it. Further description of the second high back chair and its reception in the craft world. Description of a third high back chair made twenty years later, remarks on the change in design of woodscrews. Remarks on the high quality of English indigenous trees. Description of learning to recognise trees. Story about mistaking green woodpecker for a tropical bird. Remarks on the changes in the timber industry. Description of the importance to RLTB of Herbert Edlin's 'Woodland Crafts of Great Britain'(1949). Description of RLTB's child's high chair made of cleft sticks. Long description of the potential of cleft furniture and reason for RLTB's decision not to devote his life to it, remarks on not wanting a low status in the crafts. Comments on Johnny Leach's success at marketing himself. [01:00:00] Description of the difficulties of pricing work. Remarks on preferring the word 'useable' to 'function'. Comments on the success of the child's high chair. Comments the Devon Guild's mark up of prices. Further description of the child's high chair, comments on the recent re-emergence of the froe. Mentions WLTB's employment at Carpenter Oak. Remarks on not wanting to be associated with a romantic idea of rural crafts. Mentions David Drew's decision to live without a telephone. Comments on needing to but not wanting to be a part of the Crafts world. Comments on the qualities of RLTB's furniture not being accessible through display in a photograph or a gallery. Comments on critics lack of knowledge about structure and on the difficulties of talking about the physical qualities of objects. Remarks on there being no forum for his work. Description of the improvements RLTB would make to his child's high chair. Comments on the practical qualities of the chair. Further description of critics' lack of understanding of structure and on people's lack of interest in the physical world. [01:29:00] Long description of the changes in the Crafts Council, mentions Victor Margrie. Remarks on the idea of novelty and individual expression in relation to the crafts. Long description of the difficulty of expressing the subtle qualities of objects using photography and words, mentions Faith Shannon, Shannon Tofts, Julian Stair, Johnny Leach and Bob Stocksdale. Comments on the superficiality of the content of 'Crafts' magazine. Comparison between music and objects.

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