Saturday, 20 August 2011

John Brown Artist Woodworker Chair Maker

I met many interesting people when I took my degree course one of those I particularly got on with was John Brown.

John was born before the war and when I met he was already in his seventies.
He was an extremely knowledgeable man and had a good library of books on all subjects from art and history to woodworking. John had been a wooden boat builder in America, a chair maker and was now taking up art. I will remember John in his old black coat and canvas bag. He smoked rolled up cigarettes and was always a pleasure to chat to. He took no prisoners in debate. If someone was wrong or he thought they were he told them. John had changed his name at some point. He never told me why and I never asked. He had been married more than once and had lived life to the full.

John was not a well man and on occasions I gave him a lift to Carmarthen hospital but he never really discussed what was wrong with him. He was that sort of man he just got on with life while he had it.

Sadly John died recently. I will remember him in his distinctive clothing with his long wispy grey hair. He will be missed by friends and family.

The sketch above is how I remember him.


  1. .

    I have just stumbled across your blog and its drawing of John Brown, the Chair-maker.

    I never met him, as you did, but I bought (read and re-read) his excellent book on Welsh chairs when it was first published in the early 1990s.

    I wrote about it recently in my blog, describing it as one of the books I return to. Brown says in it that if his workshop were on fire he would garb a favourite scraper…. Me? I’d grab John Brown’s book, especially as he signed it.

    All best from wet mid Wales

    Howard Roberts

    1. Hi Howard
      thanks for taking the time to respond
      John was a lovely man who was very knowledgeable and great company. Glad his book continues one of his lifes interests.

    2. Hi Mark, John Brown was my grandfather, it is lovely to hear an outsiders perspective. I am now studying Jewellery and Ceramics at Carmarthen, I was just doing some research for a presentation I am doing and stumbled across your blog and a sketch of my grandpa. Thank you

    3. He was always great company and he spoke about you proudly. Thanks for getting in touch. I hope the course is going well.