Twopence Plain, Penny Coloured charts the way furniture has been
sold to the British public for some 50 years - from the 1920s to
the 1960s - from days when furniture was still being piled on the
pavement in front of a workshop in the East End of London, to the
heady days of experiencing a whole new life-style by a visit to
Conran's. It covers the ever more splendid buildings in which
manufacturers made and sold their wares, each competing with the
others in terms of acreage covered and grandeur of facades; the
special exhibitions in which the latest designs were put on show;
the use of catalogues and leaflets - from single sheets to
compendiums of hundreds of pages; and the use of press and hoarding
advertising. The title 'Twopence Plain, Penny Coloured' is taken
from a lecture at the Royal Society of Arts and refers to the
constant battle, over the period covered by the book, between
well-designed and well-constructed largely unadorned furniture made
from good quality materials - consequently expensive - and
mass-manufactured, frequently 'period' ornamented furniture,
cheaply veneered and cheap to buy.
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