Stag Furniture Ranges - A Look at the Best of British Mid-Century Design

Stag Furniture Ranges – A Look at the Best of British Mid-Century Design

Stag Furniture: A Deep Dive into the Stylish Mid-Century Ranges from a Classic British Brand

Stag Furniture Ranges - A Look at the Best of British Mid-Century Design

Stag Furniture was one of Britain’s most successful and influential furniture manufacturers during the mid-20th century modernist era. The company produced millions of pieces of furniture between the 1950s and 1970s, making them one of the top mass-market furniture brands in Europe at the time.

In this in-depth guide, we’ll be exploring some of Stag’s most iconic and popular furniture ranges from the 1950s through to the 1970s. These include the minimalist Stag C range, the hugely successful Minstrel collection, and other influential mid-century designs like Concord and Cantata.

Specifically, we’ll look at the history of Stag furniture, what makes their mid-century ranges so collectible, the materials and styles used in their construction, and where you can still find vintage Stag pieces today if you want to buy an original item.

Stag Furniture History

Stag Furniture was founded in 1933 by Jack Fisher and Vaughn Hamilton Radford in London. It originally started as a small operation making domestic furniture and expanded rapidly after World War 2 to become one of the largest furniture manufacturers in the UK.

The company’s founders were keen to make stylish but affordable furniture ranges aimed at the mass market. This mission for great design at low prices was key throughout Stag’s history.

Stag really made its name in the 1950s when the company started to focus on modernist furniture design and appointed design consultants John and Sylvia Reid.

The Reid’s were pioneers in contemporary furniture and designed some of Stag’s most famous ranges, including the minimalist Stag ‘C’ range, which I’ll look at shortly.

Another reason Stag furniture is so collectible today is that, unlike other budget furniture manufacturers that focused on making cheap pieces, Stag also placed a high importance on quality construction and craftsmanship.

For example, their cabinetmaker, Fred Imhof was renowned for his excellent joinery skills and helped perfect the dovetail joint drawer construction used across many Stag ranges.

This combination of great design and robust build quality is why many original pieces have stood the test of time and are still going strong 60+ years later.

Now let’s look at some of their most iconic collections from the 50s, 60s and 70s.

Stag furniture ranges between the 1950’s and 1970’s

During the mid-20th century, Stag released several iconic furniture ranges that came to define their brand and the modernist design aesthetic. Their most famous collections from the postwar era through to the 1970s included the minimalist Stag C range, the hugely popular Minstrel series, and other influential designs like Concord, Nocturne, and Cantata. In this section, we’ll explore some of these quintessential Stag ranges from the 1950s to the 1970s in more detail.

The Stag ‘C’ Range – Minimalist Perfection

Stag Furniture Ranges - A Look at the Best of British Mid-Century Design - Mid Century Oak Dressing Chest of Drawers by John & Sylvia Reid for Stag, 1950s - C range

One of the most collectable Stag ranges today is the minimalist ‘Stag C Range’ designed by John and Sylvia Reid in 1953.

Stag C Range took functionalist design principles to the extreme with no unnecessary decoration and was intended to clearly show the pieces were mass-produced.

The original C range consisted of just three bedroom furniture pieces – a 3ft wardrobe, chest of drawers and dressing table.

The handles were completely recessed into the units and edges were simple straight lines. The only decoration was a plain slim mirror on the wardrobe.

The furniture was made from oak which gave it a natural blond finish or applicants could choose a face in a dark walnut veneer.

Stag advertised the range as ‘for the young at heart and pocket’ and despite its cheap price tag of around £30 for a chest of drawers, the stark C range became a huge commercial success.

Vintage Stag C range pieces are highly desirable today and a mid-century Stag C range chest of drawers can sell for £500 or more at auction.

The stripped back functionalist aesthetic and lack of decoration means original Stag C range furniture perfectly encapsulates mid-century style.

Keep an eye out for these minimalist gems in second hand stores or online auctions. But beware of replica Stag C range pieces made today – always check for authentic vintage details.

Stag Minstrel – Elegant & Traditional

Stag Furniture Ranges - Stag Minstrel chest of drawers

After the huge success of the contemporary C Range, Stag surprised everyone in 1964 by releasing a furniture collection based on 18th-century English styling called Stag Minstrel.

Designed by John and Sylvia Reid, Minstrel furniture fused traditional elegance with modern practicality and functionality.

The furniture was finished in makore timber (also called African cherry) which has a rich reddish-brown tone. Pieces featured classic antique-style brass handles and traditional raised and fielded panel doors.

Despite the traditional appearance, Stag Minstrel incorporated modern production techniques like dovetail joinery and practical postwar home design.

Stag Minstrel included extensive bedroom, dining room and living room ranges. The adaptable Minstrel range accounted for a huge percentage of the company’s sales with over £28 million of furniture sold between 1964-1981.

It’s believed the hugely popular Stag Minstrel range is possibly the best-selling furniture collection ever produced in the UK. More than 11 million items were sold before it was discontinued in 2003 after nearly 40 years in production.

Some of the most collectible Minstrel pieces today include:

  • Minstrel chest of drawers – often with a vanity mirror these are great as retro bedroom furniture. The 3 drawer chests make excellent bedside tables.
  • Minstrel dressers – available in 3, 4, 5 and up to 8 drawer options. Perfect for displaying your vintage china and ornaments.
  • Minstrel wardrobes – quality built double wardrobes in dark makore timber. Many feature central mirrored doors.
  • Minstrel occasional tables – ranges included coffee, lamp, nest of tables and bedside cabinets.
  • Minstrel dining tables and chairs – classy extendable retro dining sets.

For a touch of timeless elegance, you can’t go wrong by adding some original vintage Stag Minstrel furniture to your home. A full matching suite will transport you back to the 1970s.

Related articles:

Stag Concord

Stag Furniture Ranges - A Look at the Best of British Mid-Century Design - Concord Oak Chest of Drawers by John & Sylvia Reid for Stag, 1960s

Stag Concord was a modernist range of bedroom furniture launched around 1965. It featured simple clean lines and rounded edges and was finished in Scandinavian-influenced light oak.

Concord included bed headboards, wardrobes, dressing tables and chests of drawers. The looped metal handles were very much of the era.

The Concord range was made from solid light oak and oak veneers, with dovetail joinery on the drawers. The wardrobes often featured a central mirrored door.

Popular Concord items included the 4 drawer chests, 5′ wide wardrobes, and the bedside cabinets. The dressing tables usually had a rectangular swing mirror and drawers down each side.

Stag advertised Concord as blending “traditional virtues of craftsmanship with modern production techniques”. It was targeted at young couples furnishing their first homes.

Concord was a departure from Stag’s more traditional ranges and embodied the contemporary Swedish design style that was fashionable in the 1960s and 70s.

Stag Nocturne

Stag Furniture Ranges - Stag Nocturne

Nocturne was another modernist range released by Stag in the mid-1960s. It featured similar pared back styling as Concord but was finished in rich African mahogany.

The Nocturne range was made from mahogany solids and veneers which gave it a deep reddish-brown finish. Like Concord, dovetail joints were used in the drawer construction.

Nocturne bedroom furniture came in the standard wardrobes, dressers, chests of drawers, and bedside cabinets. Later on, sideboards and dining sets were also added to the range.

Nocturne originally launched at similar prices to Concord – around £46 for a three drawer chest in the late 1960s. A standard two door wardrobe cost £64.

The clean lines and simple styling made Nocturne a more affordable counterpart to Stag’s premium Minstrel range which shared its rich mahogany finish.

Related articles:

Stag Cantata

Stag Furniture Ranges - Stag Cantata

Cantata was designed by Ronald Carter and launched in 1967. The range was finished in golden teak which was often paired with decorative timber inlays on drawer fronts and side panels.

Cantata included the usual bed headboards, chest of drawers, wardrobes and dressing tables. Later on Stag added dining sets, coffee tables and other living room pieces.

Original 60s Stag Cantata pieces are becoming highly collectable as the range embodied the sleek Scandinavian-influenced style that was so popular during the era.

Where to Buy Vintage Stag Furniture Today

Now you know about some of the most popular ranges of vintage Stag furniture, you’re probably wondering where you can pick up an original retro piece for your home. Here are some of the best places to find Stag furniture:

  • eBay – A great source for Stag pieces. Search for specific ranges like Minstrel, C range and Cantata. Look for sellers refurbishing original vintage items.
  • Etsy – Some Etsy stores specialize in mid-century and retro furniture including Stag designs from the 60s and 70s.
  • Facebook Marketplace – Search locally for people selling vintage Stag near you. Look for wardrobes, dressers and cabinet listings.
  • Auction houses – Specialist vintage furniture auctions can feature original Stag ranges. Look out for lots from the Minstrel, C range or Cantata eras.
  • Retro furniture shops – Independent vintage shops may have original Stag pieces mixed in with other collectable brands.

Bear in mind that most iconic Stag furniture ranges are now highly collectible, so be prepared to pay decent prices for the most sought-after vintage items like a Stag Minstrel chest of drawers or C range wardrobe.

However, bargains can still be found from sellers who don’t realize they have an iconic and potentially valuable piece of original Stag furniture.

I’d recommend carefully checking any potential purchase for authenticity – look for intact Stag furniture labels, dovetail joinery, correct handles and other era-specific details.

Investing in an original piece of vintage Stag furniture can be a great way to add some instant mid-century style to your home, especially if you can find an iconic range like Minstrel or C range.

Related Questions

What is Stag furniture made out of?

Stag used a variety of different timbers and materials to construct their iconic mid-century furniture ranges. Here are some of the most common:

  • Makore – Also called African cherry, this hardwood was used for the popular Stag Minstrel range. Prized for its rich, reddish-brown timber.
  • Oak – Stag C range furniture was originally constructed from oak which gave it a blond, natural finish.
  • Teak – Used for Stag’s 1960s modernist ranges like Cantata. Teak is a tropical hardwood known for its durability.
  • Walnut – Many Stag pieces were faced with walnut veneer including later versions of the C range. Walnut has a dark chocolate brown finish.
  • Other timbers – Stag also used rosewood, elm, beech, mahogany and other exotic imported woods.
  • Formica laminate – Some budget Stag pieces were finished with Formica laminate on cheaper materials like MDF.

So in summary, the highest quality Stag furniture was made from expensive imported hardwoods to give a luxury finish. More affordable ranges utilized timber veneers, laminates and cheaper base materials.

How much is Stag furniture worth?

As Stag furniture has become highly collectible, original vintage pieces can sell for sizable sums depending on the brand, condition and desirability of the range. Here are typical price guides:

  • Iconic designs like Stag C range – Chest of drawers £400-600, wardrobes £700+
  • Stag Minstrel – Chests £300-500, dressers £400-800, bedside cabinets £150-300
  • Other popular ranges like Cantata and Concord – Around £200-400 for chests, cabinets and wardrobes.
  • Rare and unusual Stag pieces – Can fetch £1000+ at auction e.g. large Minstrel dressers.
  • Everyday Stag furniture – Less desirable basic ranges £50-150 for chests, cabinets etc

Condition is paramount – perfectly restored vintage Stag items can achieve top prices. Even popular ranges are worth very little if poorly maintained.

Provenance also matters – original vintage Stag furniture with the makers label intact will sell for considerably more than unmarked pieces.

So in summary, the most iconic Stag mid-century designs can be worth many hundreds of pounds to collectors and vintage lovers. But more common pieces still make affordable retro addition

Final Thoughts

As we’ve seen, Stag was responsible for producing some of the most iconic and influential British furniture ranges throughout the mid-century modern era. Their designs perfectly encapsulate different facets of the mid-century aesthetic from minimalism to Scandinavian influences, traditional craftsmanship, and 70s quirkiness.

Many of their most famous 50s and 60s ranges, like the minimalist Stag C Range, bestselling Minstrel, or stylish Cantata are still hugely popular with collectors and designers today.

Owning an original vintage piece can be a great talking point, investment and way to add unique character to any room. Just be ready to pay premium prices for the most collectable and desired Stag ranges and pieces.

So there you have it – everything you need to know about the retro furniture ranges created by iconic brand Stag from the 1940s through to the 1970s. Check out the furniture guide for more tips on buying vintage mid-century pieces.