We’ve been showing some of the pieces in our historic museum on our virtual tour. Visit our blog’s archives for all previous posts on The Collection. Today we’re talking about the sideboard in the dining room of The Log House.
Dimensions: 120 3/4 ” W x 70 3/4″ H x 24 1/2″ D
Materials: Oak and chestnut with copper hardware
Date: Circa 1910
Anonymous gift to The Craftsman Farms Foundation.
The sideboard in the dining room at Craftsman Farms is one of the largest and most impressive case pieces ever made by Stickley’s firm, and as far as is now known it is one of only four sideboards of this basic design to emerge from his factory. Stickley evidently made these sideboards only for his own use, for exhibition, or on special order. Some aspects of their designs – the quartered oak cabinet doors with elongated strap hinges and the angled open shelves at both ends of the case – were probably inspired by a sideboard designed earlier by the British architect M. H. Baillie Scott. In January 1900, a picture of that Baillie Scott work appeared on the cover of the American Cabinet Maker and Upholsterer, and Stickley and his designers would have routinely seen this trade magazine at his office.
A drawing of the first known Stickley sideboard of this design was published in the December 1902 issue of his Craftsman magazine, where it was shown in the dining room of his newly remodeled Syracuse home. That sideboard was 121″ long, 44″ high, and 25″ deep; its door and drawer handles and horizontal strap hinges were of hand-wrought iron—and it was made of Stickley’s favorite cabinet wood, quarter sawn oak. Its proportions were long and low. It had a central stack of drawers flanked by cabinet doors, and there were Baillie Scott-like open shelves at both ends. That sideboard stayed in the Stickley family until the late 1980s and is now in a private collection.
A few months later, in March and April 1903, Stickley held an Arts and Crafts exhibition at his Syracuse Craftsman Building, and one of the exhibition’s highlights was the model dining room installed on the building’s second floor. As the editor of The Craftsman, Irene Sargent, wrote in the magazine that May, “One of [the] features which called forth the most spontaneous admiration was the dining room furnished and arranged by the United Crafts…. The sideboard especially attracted the attention of the visitors, and was judged to be one of the best pieces as yet built in the workshops of the United Crafts.” This sideboard was almost identical to the one in Stickley’s Columbus Avenue home. It was offered for sale at the high price of $190, an amount equivalent to about $4000 in 2006; its present whereabouts are unknown.
In 1908 or 1909, Stickley’s firm built another, though slightly smaller, sideboard of this design for the home of Duncan and Flora Guiney of Yonkers, New York. Duncan Guiney was a merchant tailor whose Manhattan business was on West 34th Street near Fifth Avenue, about a block from Stickley’s retail store and offices at 29 and 41 West 34th Street. Very possibly the two men knew each other and it may have been because of this personal relationship that Guiney ordered a Stickley sideboard that exactly fit the length of the his dining room’s north wall. That sideboard remained in the house through several subsequent owners and is now in a private collection.
When Stickley came to furnish the vast Craftsman Farms dining room, he decided to adapt this handsome – as well as large and functional – sideboard design. Though the hardware is different, the Craftsman Farms sideboard clearly evolved from the earlier versions and like them is constructed of quarter-sawn oak. The most apparent difference is the useful and attractive attached plate rack that the preceding sideboards lacked. The plate rack is framed with oak members, matching the sideboard’s case, but the chamfered vertical boards spanning the width of the plate rack are chestnut, bringing this piece into harmony with the chestnut logs and chestnut furniture used throughout the downstairs of the house. Contemporary photographs show that Stickley decked out this plate rack with ceramic and wrought metal platters and serving pieces, as well as a discreet bell, which his wife Eda presumably pressed to summon family servants.
. Photographers Monika Broz and David Mielcarek also made use of the sideboard when they shot engagement photos for Clancy and David! You can see these pictures in their gallery.