The Collection: Living Room

This week’s featured piece is in the living room, right beside last week’s #2341 Morris chair.
#410 L Hexagonal Library Table
Dimensions: 48″ W x 30″ H
Materials: oak, chestnut, leather, with round-headed brass tacks
Date: ca. 1905 – 1909
Mark: Red joiner’s compass with Gustav Stickley script signature, inside one leg.
Designer: Attributed to Henry Wilkinson or LaMont Warner
Long-term loan by William and Pat Porter to The Craftsman Farms Foundation.

Like the #2341 Morris chair that Stickley placed next to it, the #410 hexagonal library table is a design that evidently dates to the first half of 1901. Its six arched aprons supporting the top and the flaring stacked stretchers joining the legs do not literally match the chair’s curved corbels, but they do relate to them and are evidence that these designs are of the same vintage. Just as Stickley placed his typically 1902 settle and Eastwood chair together at the north end of the log house living room, so he put these two visually related 1901 pieces next to each other at the other end of the room.

This one of the firm’s most satisfying table designs. The hexagonal top dramatically differentiates it from the round or rectangular tops most often seen on Stickley library tables, and its leather covering – a functional, protective feature – adds varied textures and rich colors that contrast with the table’s deep-toned oak. The round-headed brass tacks spaced rhythmically along the tabletop’s outer edges have a slight, lighting-catching sheen and add yet another contract, in this instance with both oak and leather. They also cast subtle, shifting shadows as sunlight moves through the room, and this architectural play of light and shade was one of Stickley’s favorite visual effects. The success of this design is also an outgrowth of its pleasing proportions and its dramatic, revealed construction. The table’s structure is evident, for instance, in the central finial that locks the stacked stretchers together and, because of its faceted shape, it too subtly catches light. The stretchers pierce the legs and end in pronounced tenon and key joints. These joints enhance the table’s structural integrity but they are also visually thrilling, a perfect instance of Stickley’s emphasis on the decorative value of structure.

An interior drawing of his Syracuse house published in the December 1902 issue of The Craftsman shows a hexagonal library table with a leather top. That may be the table later placed in the log house living room. Whether they are the same table or two different examples of the same model, their prominent placement in both his Syracuse and Craftsman Farms living rooms suggest how much this design pleased Stickley’s eye. The hexagonal library table original to Craftsman Farms is now in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

If you can’t come visit us in person, you can still look at the other pieces in our virtual tour.

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