Robert Ingham was born in India, his father being an officer in the colonial police, and was educated there till the age of eleven. At partition with Pakistan the family opted to return to England - a decision largely prompted by concern for the children’s educational future - to live in Yorkshire, his father’s family home.

Robert trained at Loughborough College, and at Leeds College of Art, followed by a degree at Leeds University. After several years teaching he set up a workshop designing and making furniture, in partnership with his younger brother George, who had arrived at this point through the more design orientated route of the Royal College of Art.

Together they ran a highly successful business in Thirsk, making one-off pieces and small batches.

Eventually they opted for independent careers, George to run his own workshop in Hemel Hempstead for a short time before moving to Australia to set up the furniture school at Canberra School of Art; and Robert, via a short spell in interior design and retailing, to Dorset to assist John Makepeace in setting up the school at Parnham, and thereafter to run it as Principal. George died of cancer in 2003 and Robert has dedicated his book ‘Cutting-edge Cabinetmaking’ to him, and a percentage of the sales go to a cancer charity in George’s memory.

During Robert’s tenure the school had gone from strength to strength, becoming internationally known, and producing a string of successful graduates, who are now the backbone of the British designer-maker elite.

In conjunction with his teaching, Robert has his own business, Robert Ingham Designs, and wearing this hat he makes one-off pieces to commission and for exhibition both in this country and abroad. Several of his pieces have been awarded Guild Marks.

He has exhibited in the States at Pritam and Eames Gallery, New York, and has important pieces in private collections in this country and America. He showed regularly at Decorative Arts Today at Bonhams, A Celebration of Craftsmanship and Design, Cheltenham, and at the Society of Designer Craftsmen. He has also taught Summer Schools, both in this country and at Anderson Ranch Arts Centre in Colorado, and the Centre for Furniture Craftsmanship in Maine.

He was Invited to join the Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers, been granted the Freedom of the City of London, and been made a Fellow of the Society of Designer Craftsmen.

In 1997, after twenty successful and full years at Parnham, he gave up teaching in order to concentrate fully on his own work - setting up a workshop in North Wales, making pieces to commission, and small batches of very collectable boxes. The new workshop has been featured in several national magazines.

Between 2000 & 2005 he was on the staff of Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College on a research and advisory basis.

Consultant to the ‘Joseph Walsh Furniture Studio’ in Kinsdale, Ireland
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