Ron Carter is probably little known outside the furniture design community but you’ll find a chapter about him in an excellent book by Lesley Jackson titled ” Modern British Furniture , Design since 1945 ”
I’m not going to compete with Lesley Jackson in this blog , so please go out and like me buy this interesting book ! Suffice it to say that he was born in 1926 and died in 2013 , and that after leaving the RCA he worked for Gordon Russell amongst others . He worked as design consultant for Nottingham based Stag furniture from around 1965 to 1979 , taking over the role from John and Sylvia Reid . His first design for Stag was the Cantata range which is the subject of this blog . It was introduced in 1966 . Lesley Jackson says of Ron that he ” represents a strain of quiet understatement that runs through post-war British furniture design from Robin Day in the 1950s to Jasper Morrison today ” . Well suited to the slightly conservative British market his designs never shout at you , they’re practical and well thought out .
The Cantata range was described in the 1966 catalogue as ” It is the perfect range for a modern house or flat because great care has been taken to achieve the maximum amount of storage space without increasing outside dimensions ” . Most bedroom furniture at this stage was on legs which although smart is very wasteful of space and of course harder to clean as dust accumulates underneath . G Plan’s bedroom furniture at this point was the Quadrille and the Danish range , Fresco didn’t arrive on the scene for a year or two after and had a similar concept to Cantata .
The Cantata range was larger than G Plan’s Fresco and was designed so that it could sit either separately or be grouped in runs which was not the case with Fresco . We recently discovered that the range also included a cheval mirror which we’ve had a few times . The cheval mirror never seems to be labelled and it’s the only British contemporary mid-century model that we see regularly .
Stag Cantata is well made with proper old-fashioned dovetails , but the detailing isn’t quite as good as G Plan Fresco or Quadrille , but then at the time it will have been slightly cheaper to buy . We think as a range that it offers excellent value and as the 1966 catalogue also says ” Ron Carter’s design emphasises the magnificent grain and texture of the wood and makes the most of its rich tawny colour ” .