Seldom Seen

Seldom Seen – Furniture

Art Gene have created a series of engraved table tops including the Knights’ of Piel Round Table which explore the history of Barrow and it’s Islands. Inspired by the heavily inscribed throne of the Kings of Piel which will take pride of place in the new visitor centre.

Design Statement

When we see evidence of the hand of another person in an artefact or a place, it allows us to vividly imagine the existence of someone who is perhaps long since gone.

The fundamental need to make one’s mark… to mark an event, or simply ones existence into perpetuity, is in evidenced across Piel Island. The heavily scarred surface of the King’s throne in the Ship Inn bears witness to many. Like wise the red sandstone of Piel Castle (c.1237) is thoroughly inscribed with the initials of our forebears – marked yet strangely anonymous.

These graven lines, were a starting point for the design of the inscribed table tops created by Art Gene for the Ship Inn on Piel Island.

Things which connect us to the past help us to imagine a continuity… to grasp the scale of things, and remind us that we have a time and place in which to make our own contribution.

The Knights’ of Piel
Round Table

Art Gene have created a series of engraved table tops including the Knights’ of Piel Round Table which explore the history, industrial achievements and natural environment of Barrow and it’s islands.

Referencing the throne of the Kings of Piel, graffiti on Piel Castle and drawings in the 19th c. visitor books from the Ship Inn, the round table and traditional, ‘working men’s club’ – up-cycled pub tables sit within and extend existing vernacular traditions and develop a sense of pride in the outstanding achievements and legacy created for Barrow from across its Islands.

Displayed mounted on a wall in the Ship Inn, the table can be removed for use during special occasions and Knighting ceremonies. The table top is made in four sections which can be used in various configurations . The red rotating centre-piece (above) featuring the names of all of the Kings of Piel since Lambert Simnel landed on Piel Island in 1487 and laid claim to the Throne of England, is placed on the round table for use during banquets and feasts.

Engraved Pub Tables

Bite-sized pieces of information and historical sound-bites are imparted through Maddi Nicholson’s drawings which have been engraved into new traffolyte covered table tops. The intension is to introduce people visiting the pub to a wide variety of diverse information about different aspects of the Islands of Barrow and inspire further enquiry, interest, pride and engagement. This approach has also been employed on the Seldom Seen Islands of Barrow Map and Beer Maps.

We chose to use engraved traffolyte – the material of choice for labels and control panels in Barrow-built ships and nuclear submarines which seemed to add another dimension to the work. It also appears similar to the damaged working mens club style Formica table tops once so prevalent in Barrow’s pubs and clubs. We had to remove the damaged Formica tops after rescuing the tables from a now demolished pub on Abbey Rd, Barrow. The legs were then sandblasted and retreated. The stool legs were also up-cycled from the same source and re-upholstered. There are questions under each of the stools – ones that can be answered by looking at the Beer Maps and Seldom Seen Collection of Curiosities.


Images on this page all show various furniture (or details of),
shown here whilst exhibited in the Seldom Seen Exhibition at Art Gene,
before being permanently installed in the Ship Inn, Piel Island, Barrow-in-Furness.


Seldom Seen™ is an unregistered trademark of Art Gene.

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