Made by Byrdcliffe Arts and Crafts Colony / Linen press / ca. 1904Made by Byrdcliffe Arts and Crafts Colony
Linen press
ca. 1904

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Creator Name: Byrdcliffe Arts and Crafts Colony
Creator Role: Maker
Creator Dates/Places: 1902-ca. 1915
Creator Name-CRT: Made by Byrdcliffe Arts and Crafts Colony
Title: Linen press
Title Type: Object name
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1902
Creation End Date: 1906
Creation Date: ca. 1904
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Classification Term: Furniture
Materials and Techniques: Oak, tulip poplar, brass
Dimensions: 55 x 41 x 18 3/4 in. (139.7 x 104.1 x 47.6 cm)
AMICA Contributor: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 1991.311.1
Credit Line: Purchase, Friends of the American Wing Fund and Mr. and Mrs. Mark Willcox Jr. Gift, 1991

The Byrdcliffe Arts and Crafts Colony was founded by Ralph Radcliffe Whitehead, an independently wealthy Englishman, outside of Woodstock, New York, in 1902. Inspired by his teacher and mentor John Ruskin, Whitehead invited independent craftsmen to the Byrdcliffe Colony to work in traditional, handcrafted construction methods producing furniture, pottery, textiles, paintings, and metalwork on a small scale and in a healthy, rural environment. This oak linen press is a typical example of Byrdcliffe furniture, with its simple, rectilinear shape, hand-carved floral and leaf panels, and transparently-stained surfaces in nature's colors. Although this piece was probably designed by Whitehead himself, the sassafras-leaf panels were designed by Edna M. Walker, who, with Zulma Steele, both graduates of Pratt School of Design in Brooklyn, were eventually responsible for designing most of the decoration found on Byrdcliffe furniture; Walker's drawings for these panels are also in the collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. After a few short years of production, it became clear that furniture making at Byrdcliffe was not a profitable venture, and Whitehead closed the woodworking shops in 1905. By 1915, the Byrdcliffe Colony had ceased to exist.

AMICA ID: MMA_.1991.311.1
AMICA Library Year: 2000
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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