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A Music Stand/Lectern: ‘Solar Flare’,

Designed and Created by Paul Ferguson MBE

In 2018 the Master Carvers Association (MCA) celebrated the tercentenary of
Thomas Chippendale Snr’s birth. To exhibit the skills of the carving craft today and at the suggestion of Luke Hughes (Luke Hughes Co Ltd),  seven music stands were designed and made by members and affiliates of the Association for display and recitals.

This is the story of one of them.

Solar Flare, a music stand designed and carved by Paul Ferguson

Throughout the history of design nature has been the inspiration for decoration by designers and craftsmen alike. From flora, fauna and human forms the world around us has been the resource drawn upon for harmonious creations. In this spirit I decided to use natural references that have only become available in recent times; in this case close-up images of solar flares and rocketing plasma.

Close-up of the sun 1 Close-up of the sun 2

Examples of typical resource material

Design sketch

The design sketch; the base and platen are composed of plasma streams following lines of a magnetic field. The central ribbed section, which allows the tray to be adjusted to the required height, may be interpreted as an interference pattern or an allusion to a fret board on a musical instrument. The top is the rocketing plasma reaching its zenith.


For strength, durability and sound ecological ethics English Walnut was chosen for the manufacture.

CAD drawing Mock-up of the rise and fall mechanism

The cad drawing, used to develop the design details for the rise and fall mechanism and printed full size to use as templates for manufacture

The mock-up in pine wood to prove the viability of the mechanism to raise and lower the platen on the shaft

Work in progress

The construction; partly carved and machined and the blocking of the base

Plasma reaching its zenith

The ‘plasma reaching its zenith’

Plasma streams, during carving

The ‘plasma streams following the magnetic field lines’, roughed out and ready for finishing

The tilt mechanism

The mechanism to tilt the platen

Solar Flare Music Stand

Photograph by Alan Marsh

The finished music stand

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The Celebrations for the Tercentenary of the birth of

Thomas Chippendale Snr

1718 - 2018

With the title Matching Patron & Maker the MCA presented a series of events curated by Lennox Cato (Lennox Cato Antiques) a contributor to the BBC 1 Antiques Roadshow and generously supported by Dino Tomasso and Raffaello Tomasso (Tomasso Brothers Fine Art), Luke Hughes (Luke Hughes Co Ltd) and Matthew & Mark Ossowski (Ossowski Antiques) and with the inestimable help of the writer, historian and art critic Huon Mallalieu.

Accompanying the exhibitions the musical ensemble ArchiCantiores (#archicantiores) headed by architect Jonathan Louth (Jonathan Louth Architects) performed with ‘Airs, Graces, Poems:  from Handel to Munden 1718 - 2018’ on occasion with guest saxophonist Tunday Akintan (@TundayAkintan).

The performances celebrated the poem ‘Quartet’  commissioned by ArchiCantiores from Paul Munden for the Master Carvers Association in 2018. Quartet is a foursome of four-line stanzas. Each stanza characterised as Cello, Viola, Violin II  and Violin I, each reflecting designs of music stands by Master Carvers, combining the elemental themes represented as Earth. Water, Fire and Air  with the Muses Myths and other themes represented in the music stands.


Earth, Water, Fire, Air

1 Cello


Striding out, each fine-boned, cloven, planted hoof

marks time on bedrock, pasture, heath; a gruff

and grounded walking bass; a founding myth

that stamps its formative dominion on the earth.



2 Viola


Creatures manoeuvre within the tremulous swell—

deep violet, blue, maroon, the undulating colours

of corals constructing their rococo futures

while water music lifts from a fluted shell.


3 Violin II


A pulse, a current, a subtle, solar flicker—a flare

from the coiled, exuberant flux; harmonic torsions

of plasma channelling the ethereal dark; vibrations

along the fretted, counterpointed filaments of fire.



4 Violin I


A clean ascent, inscribing the visible grain of the air

with its poetry, its spiralling grace; each wingbeat

beating new song into being, each bird's-eyed note

of the melody intent on a distant, dizzying frontier.


© Paul Munden 2018

Master Carver: Hugh Wedderburn Master Carver: Ben Harms Master Carver: Paul Ferguson Master Carver: Chris Pye

The Events

5th June 2018 at Tomasso Brothers, Jermyn Street,

St James’s, SW1Y 6NY

Titled: Myths & Muses


Jonathan Louth baritone & Marion Wyllie mezzo soprano

with Duo Villanesca: Peter Bennett guitarist, Ana Estefanía Rodriguez Morán flautist

Tomasso Brothers 2

Jonathan Louth reading from the stand

Photograph by Dunata Solowiej

Tomasso Brothers 2

 photograph by Dunata Solowiej

Paul and Jessie Ferguson in conversation

7th June 2018 at Luke Hughes Co Ltd, Savoy Court , WC2R 0EX

Titled: Carving & Making


Jonathan Louth baritone & Marion Wyllie mezzo soprano

with Duo Giuliano-Mikeleiz: Iñigo Mikeleiz accordionist and Daryl Giuliano cellist

Photograph by Dunata Solowiej

Marion Wyllie singing from the stand

Luke Hughes 2

Guest saxophonist Tunday Akintan

12th June 2018 at Luke Hughes, Savoy Court, WC2R 0EX

Titled: Love and Relationships


Jonathan Louth baritone & Marion Wyllie mezzo soprano

with Viella Duo: Marcello Deidda violinist, Katherine Clarke violist

Luke Hughes 1 Luke HUghes 3

Photograph by Dunata Solowiej

Marion Wyllie singing from the stand

21st June 2018 at Ossowski, Pimlico Road, SW1W 8PH

Titled: Instruments & Music


Jonathan Louth baritone & Marion Wyllie mezzo soprano with Duo Correa-Andrews: Emily Andrews flautist & Francisco Correa guitarist

Paul Munden poet & Stephen O'Connor reader


Paul Ferguson talking with Paul Munden

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The Music Stands on Tour

A number of stately homes and organisations such as the National Trust, the Chippendale Society and the MCA came together under the banner ‘Chippendale 300’ to celebrate his life, work and legacy. On completion of the MCA’s events the group of music stands went on tour.

In a prelude to the commemorations this music stand was used at Westminster Abbey for a service to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Arts Society

Westminster Abbey Simon Callow at Westminster Abbey

The stand being used as a lectern for a reading during the service by Simon Callow

Westminster Abbey

The Leeds International Piano Competition

Leeds International Piano Competition

Burton Constable

Burton Constable

Temple Newsam

Leila Prescott, curator at Temple Newsham, with 'Solar Flare' Picture Bruce Rollinson

Courtesy of the Yorkshire Evening Post

Worshipful Company of Turners competition for turning at Carpenters Hall

Worshipful Company of Turners

Past Master, Ilan Krieger, on the exhibition stand with Solar Flare


20th June 2019 - OpenForMusic

Church of the Holy Cross, Cromer Street WC1H8JU

ArciCantiores 1

Jonathan Louth performing with Paul Munden sitting

Tunday Akintan

Tunday Akintan performing

The stand is for sale (POA)

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