Roycroft Shops (1895–1938), East Aurora, NY
oak wood and leather upholstery
39 3/8 x 17 7/8 x 17 3/4 inches
The Roycroft design community began in East Aurora, New York (near Buffalo) in 1895, as an American response to the English Arts & Crafts movement that emphasized design handmade by artisans, with the goal of design for all. The Roycroft campus had several workshops for furniture, metalwork, printing and leather, as well as residences for its 500 workers. The Roycroft Inn was built 1903–1905, adding a modern Arts & Crafts building to the campus with a music room, dining room, lecture hall and guest accomodations. The simplicity of this chair was characteristic of the American Arts & Crafts movement that created rustic, hardy furniture. “We have eliminated all unnecessary elaboration, but we have kept in view the principles of artistic quality, sound mechanical construction and good workmanship,” Roycroft founder Elbert Hubbard said of their furniture. Though the Roycroft Shops had the same aesthetic as most other American Arts & Crafts design, its prominently carved logo (here on the front of the seat) set it apart. Though manufacturers could replicate the simple lines of this chair, Hubbard knew that customers would pay more for the recognizable Roycroft name. This chair has its original leather seat and is not listed in Roycroft catalogs but is carved with their symbol, suggesting it is rare.
ON VIEW in Arts & Crafts Gallery 3
Roycroft logo mark cut into front of seat
Collection Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art