Stickley Bookcase Photo
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Bookcases come in all shapes and sizes; they can be used to store and display books as well as a variety of other items. This freestanding Stickley reproduction bookcase features double glass doors with stained-glass accents and wrought-iron door pulls.
Gustav Stickley was a well-known designer, furniture maker, and advocate of the American Arts and Crafts movement.
Stickley, who was born on a Wisconsin farm in 1858, knew early that he enjoyed working with wood. He began his career in a furniture factory in Pennsylvania, and also had a small business manufacturing chairs with his brother. In 1898, at the age of 40, Stickley took a trip to England to meet the founders of the Arts and Crafts movement, including Charles Voysey. Armed with what he had learned from Voysey and others, Stickley built a line of furniture based on the Arts and Crafts principles of honesty, morality, and simplicity.
Stickley used dowels and functional mortises to build his furniture, and he ran his drawers through hardwood guides. Because part of Stickley's philosophy was to ensure that each feature on the furniture had a construction purpose, he was initially against any kind of decorative ornamentation. Later, he did allow some subtle inlays to be incorporated. The chairs were always made of natural materials such as wood, leather, and copper, and were usually in fall colors such as green, red, and brown.
He displayed this furniture for the first time at the 1900 Grand Rapids Furniture Exposition, where it was met with great appreciation. In 1901 he started his own company, United Crafts, and began publishing a magazine titled The Craftsman for others interested in this type of furniture. In 1904, Stickley changed the name of his company to Craftsman Workshops.
Though Stickley was admired and widely imitated by other furniture makers, he came to an unfortunate end. He declared bankruptcy in 1915, had a nervous breakdown, and lived the rest of his life with his daughter. He died on April 21, 1942. Copies of his furniture, known best as "Mission style," are still replicated by today's furniture makers.
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Stickley Bookcase Picture