Mission-style furniture grew out the turn-of-the-century Arts and Crafts movement, which like Art Nouveau was a response to industrialization. During the Victorian Era, elaborate Rococo and Neoclassical furniture was churned out by factories. Artists, designers, scholars, and other thinkers of the day began to express disdain for both the frilly, ornate aesthetic of Victorian decor, as well as the low quality of machine-made items.
The lead thinkers of the Arts and Crafts movement, such as art critic John Ruskin and designer William Morris, both from England, called for a return to high-quality, hand-made furniture, crafted by artisans. They promoted a simpler, more natural, and more functional look, with clean lines and solid, heavy frames made of wood. They believed that furniture design should lack clutter and highlight the craftsmanship of the construction and the natural beauty of the materials.
In 1900, furniture designer Gustav Stickley, publisher of the influential magazine, “The Craftsman,” popularized this movement in the United States, launching his own Mission or Craftsman-style of furniture. Said to be based on the spartan furnishings of California’s Franciscan missions, the earthy, rectilinear style was characterized by thick lines of oak, with exposed mortise-and-tenon joints and little in the way of decorative carving.
The best examples of antique Mission-style furnishings, from chairs to tables to cabinets, often feature rows of narrow wooden spindles that create eye-pleasing parallel lines. The wood is varnished but never painted, and the upholstery is always of a natural, unembellished material such as dyed leather or canvas.
The great irony of Mission-style furniture is that even though the Arts and Crafts movement supposedly rejected mechanization, Stickley would used steam-powered or electric woodworking machines to get the wood ready for his pieces, which would then be hand-finished by his artisans. Eventually, the Mission style was mass-produced just like its predecessors had been, and low-quality, slipshod items were soon found everywhere.
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New Dollar Tree, thrift store planned for VisaliaVisalia Times-Delta, October 27th
Benny Rodriguez, director of the Bethlehem Center, said that while people could carry in donations of clothing and other small items, furniture and other large goods would be picked up at people's homes or accepted at the charity's headquarters and...Read more
Developer Paynter buys fourth Mooney shopping centerVisalia Times-Delta, October 16th
The purchase does not include Walmart, but includes Burlington Coat Factory and Ashley Furniture and the former Circuit City building along with the inline shops in the complex. “We have a tenant coming into the long- vacant Circuit City space but the...Read more
Longtime antique dealer sells the pastVisalia Times-Delta, October 14th
Ray said he later worked at a furniture store on West Main Street, where he made just enough money to feed his family. “Things were hard in those days; nobody had any money,” he said. The store was called Ray's Home Furnishings. With success in Visalia...Read more
Clay Cafe gets new digs, moves into Victorian-style homeVisalia Times-Delta, September 30th
Furniture, picture frames and curtains from the Victorian era can be seen throughout. “It's so exciting to be able to use all my Victorian stuff,” she said. Customers also have the option to paint in the secret garden or reserve a spot for a garden...Read more
Horses dead, feed recalledVisalia Times-Delta, September 29th
Goshen feed manufacturer Western Milling, LLC. has voluntarily recalled its 50-pound bags of Western Blend horse feed sold in California and Arizona following the deaths of five horses after eating it. Company President and CEO, Kevin Kruse, declined...Read more
Local vets receive help from Team AMVETVisalia Times-Delta, September 10th
Victor Hood wasted little time enjoying the furniture Team AMVET delivered to his north Visalia apartment Thursday morning. Hood sat on a tanned leather couch, put up his feet on top of a center table and imagine what it would be like watching...Read more
Sarah Cyrus Home features an eclectic mix of top-quality furnitureAtlanta Magazine, July 1st
If a custom sofa just isn't what the homeowner expected, it's the designer who gets stuck with the bill—and the sofa. That's just one way design pros end up with excess inventory, much of it top-quality goods. To help take it off their hands, Sarah...Read more
To repair or not to repair rare furnitureArizona Daily Star, March 14th
The Toomey Gallery specializes in A&C furniture (Mission is a style under that umbrella), and also holds regular auctions. In a December 2014 sale, an unsigned Gustav Stickley bungalow library table brought $6,000. In September of the same year another...Read more