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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Going, going, goneGreensburg Daily News, August 6th
Living in one of Indy's historic neighborhoods has given us an appreciation for antiquity, especially furniture from the Victorian era. But as the evening progressed, it was fast becoming apparent that the majority of the others sitting at the auction...Read more
News in briefThe Daily News of Newburyport, July 28th
The Newburyport Council on Aging will hold an ice cream social and a hearing talk, “Overall Hearing Health and Wellness” by John Hastings, LHIS followed by hearing screenings on Friday, July 31, beginning at 1 p.m. at the Council on Aging. The...Read more
Man shot multiple times by Gwinnett officersWXIA-TV, July 12th
Gwinnett County police said they responded to a shooting in the 100 block of Mission Oak Drive in Grayson at about 8:30 p.m.. Police said a man came to the location ... Don't Buy Furniture Until You See This SiteWayfair. Undo. The Cut · Saudi Man...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
Frederick Waterboyz celebrate faith, promote peace in Sunday concertFrederick News Post (subscription), June 28th
Although the Frederick Keys game wouldn't start for another three hours, some fans gathered early Sunday afternoon at Harry Grove Stadium to celebrate a performance of a different kind — a choir of 50 men clad in lime green t-shirts. The throng of...Read more
Creating a brighter, more inviting living roomWashington Post, June 3rd
Furniture: Soft modern end table ($67), Bang Bang sleeper sofa in cotton with memory foam mattress ($1,000), Albury end table in mission oak ($119), Collins end table ($71) and Metro collection ottoman and chair in crimson red ($330), all from ...Read more
Track and Field: CVC girls capture Sequoia/Sierra crownVisalia Times-Delta, May 13th
The Central Valley Christian Cavaliers have put together one of the finer top girls track and field teams in the Central Section this season, and they have a shiny Central Section championship plaque to prove it. The Cavaliers demonstrated their...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