The Suffolk Chair Collection

The Suffolk Chair Collection was started in 2006 to help preserve and celebrate the chairmaking traditions of East Anglia – in particular the Ball Back chairs of Suffolk. The Collection consists of over 50 original early to mid 19th century chairs. These have been digitally archived by local photographer Doug Atfield. The archive is now used by the Spring Festival as a design reference resource, allowing The Suffolk Chair Collection to offer clients a bespoke commissioning service for new editions of classic Suffolk Ball Back chairs. The Collection also offers a commissioning service for a range of new contemporary Suffolk Chairs made by local craftsmen. These are listed and illustrated below.

Commissioning a Suffolk Ball Back or Contemporary Chair

If you would like to order a chair or find out more about commissioning a new edition of a Ball Back chair or a contemporary Suffolk chair please contact the Festival office:



Chair :  The Polstead Folding Stool

Maker:  Dylan Pym
Price:  from £125
Delivery Time:  approx 4 weeks
Materials:  seat and legs made from Suffolk oak

The Polstead Folding Stool is one of Dylan Pym’s signature chair designs. Made from locally sourced, air dried timber, it is available in golden or brown English oak. The stools are easy to store, either on a peg or propped against a support. A forged iron latch and bracing keep the chair stable when opened, making it ideal for use in the kitchen or in work spaces.

Note: Stool to used as a seat only. Not suitable for use as a stepladder.

For all orders and for more information :


Chair:  Glemham Dairy Stools and Suffolk Benches

Maker:  Raymond Hopkins
Price:  from £85 to £685
Delivery Time:  approx 6 weeks
Materials:  seats made from oak/ash/elm; legs from oak/ash/cedar/yew.

The seats of Glemham Dairy Stools and Suffolk Benches are made from air dried oak and ash harvested from woodland at Great Glemham Farms in the Upper Alde Valley of Suffolk. Ash, oak, yew and cedar are used to make the legs. All are made to order and are priced individually. Benches can be made to measure from 18cm to 50cm wide, 30cm to 50cm high and 100cm to 450cm long.

For all orders and for more information :


Chair:  Irish Stools & Hedge Chairs

Maker:  Raymond Hopkins
Price:  from £145
Delivery Time:  approx 2 months
Materials:  seats made from Great Glemham oak; legs / uprights made from oak, cedar, hawthorn, hazel, ash, holly, yew

The Irish Stools & Hedge Chairs take inspiration from the traditions of chair making in rural Ireland, which often relied upon off-cuts and small sections of wood harvested from scrub and hedgerows. Each stool or chair is a unique piece, made from hand-selected pieces of wood found in the woodyard at White House Farm in Great Glemham and in nearby woodland and hedgerows.

For all orders and for more information :

 Chair: The High Back Chair

Maker:  Dan Hussey.
Price:  from £2,450.
Delivery Time: Approx 3 months.
Materials:  seat and frame made from steam-bent ash sourced in Suffolk.

The High Back Chair is Dan Hussey's largest chair, with complex steam-bent components. Each High Back Chair is unique, with slight variations in form and height, varying according to the wood and commission. The series is a limited edition, with only a handful of High Backs being made.

For all orders and for more information :

 Chair: Bendy Armchair

Maker: Dan Hussey.
Price: from £595.
Delivery Time: approx 3 months.
Materials: seats and frame made from steam-bent sweet chestnut.

The Bendy Armchair is unusual in being made from steam bent sweet chestnut wood -ash is more commonly used because of its suppleness. The arms, legs and leg-braces are a masterpiece of steam-bending.

For all orders and for more information :

 Chair: No 1 Chair

Maker: Dan Hussey.
Price: from £350.
Delivery Time: approx 2 months.
Materials: seats and frame made from steam-bent ash sourced in Suffolk.

The No 1 Chair is one of Dan Hussey’s best selling designs, serving as a kitchen or dining chair. As with his other designs, it is unusual in the fact that the steam-bending is in 3 planes.

For all orders and for more information :

  • Local Places to Stay :

    Good places to stay within 1 mile of the Festival and farm : Crown Cottages, Great Glemham; Stable Cottage, The Grove; Alde Garden, Sweffling Details>


  • Festival Exhibition opening times :

    Festival open every weekday except non-Bank Holiday Mondays. If you are coming in the middle of the day there are good local pubs in Great Glemham and Rendham.


  • Free Entry & Parking :

    Free parking and free entry to Festival Exhibition and Open Studios [@ weekends] – come by foot, bike or car share !

  • Harry Becker Exhibition :

    Archive Exhibition about Harry Becker in the Farmyard Classroom with works for sale in the barns.

  • The Festival Exhibition theme for 2018 : Claudius ~ Suffolk’s Roman Emperor!

    Celebration of portraiture, life drawing and the figure in the landscape

  • New works:

    New works by over 20 artists and makers in the Festival Exhibition.

  • Festival Talks:

    Festival Talks with Maggi Hambling, Simon Loftus and Charlotte Howarth.

  • Farm Suppers with Peter Harrison:

    Farm Suppers with Peter Harrison each Thursday evening in the farmhouse Dining Rooms from Thurs 26th April – 17th May. Book early to reserve places.


  •  Eat on the Wild Side :

    Cakes, pastries and pies made with foods from the farm’s market gardens, hedgerows, pastures and woodland. Served and on sale at weekends in Hedge Quarters’ Tea Rooms.


  •  NEW for 2018 :

    More pop up exhibition spaces in the barns for The Spring Festival Exhibition.

  •  NEW for 2018 :

    New Workshop Residency spaces – open at weekends from 21st April – 20th May.

  •  Spring Festival launches 21st April:

    The 2018 Alde Valley Spring Festival launches on Saturday 21st April and runs until Sunday 20th May – come and visit us !


  •  NEW for 2018:

    Open Studios showcasing some of the best makers in Suffolk and UK : leather work, letter carving, chair-making, knife-forging, jewellery, tile-making


Works for Sale

We have some wonderful works by artists that exhibit at the festival currently for sale. Details >
The Festival Shop

Stocking a range of unusual cards, books, walking sticks and other handmade items made on the farm & by local artisans. Details >
The Suffolk Chair Collection

The Collection of original early – mid nineteenth century Ball Backs has been set up as a design reference collection. Details >

Icon Painting in the Alde Valley

For more information....
Details >
Food Adventures

We have listed some of the Alde Valleys outstanding food businesses.
Places to Stay

The Alde Valley and East Suffolk are full of good homestays, holiday cottages, B&Bs and hotels.
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