International Decorative Art

Inlaid Drop-Front Desk

Inlaid Drop-Front Desk

Design Date 1903

Designer Harvey Ellis (1852-1904, American)

Media oak wood inlaid with pewter, copper and fruitwoods

Dimensions 43 5/8 x 30 x 12 7/8 inches

The drop-front desk was one of the signature designs of the Stickley workshop, an American Arts & Crafts furniture company founded by Gustav Stickley (1858–1942). The desk is elegant, yet functional, with a panel that drops down to use as a writing desk and closes back up when not in use. Designer Harvey Ellis was instrumental in refining Stickley’s Arts & Crafts aesthetic when he arrived in 1903. Ellis replaced the massiveness and the visible joinery of previous Stickley furniture with more elegant lines and a smaller scale. He also incorporated delicate wood or metal inlays of stylized floral patterns to add more sophistication and decorative flair to his designs. Other characteristics of Ellis’s design for Stickley seen in this desk are taller-proportioned furniture, narrower boards, wide overhangs (like in the top of this desk) and arched feet. The Stickley logo mark contains the phrase, “Als ik kan” meaning “To the best of my ability,” a Flemish saying reflecting the Stickley ideals of simplicity, honesty and truth.

ON VIEW in Arts & Crafts Gallery 3

Markings Stamped in brown, "Gustav Stickley" signature with "Als ik kan" joiner's compass logo mark, rear top center. At center, top: logo of a joiner's compass with the words, "Als ik kan" and in script, "Gustav Stickley"

Credit Line Collection Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art

Accession Number 2007.0189