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.
Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)
Buffalo Architecture and History
Kentucky Online Arts Resource
Other Great Reference Sites
Most watched eBay auctions
Recent News: Mission Style Furniture
Source: Google News
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
Office spaces added to Downtown VisaliaVisalia Times-Delta, March 17th
Office suites include furniture, thermostats in each room, dimming LED lighting, high-speed internet and other amenities. The location was another attraction for West. “It's a major focus to be interconnected to the center of Visalia businesses,” he said...Read more
Swampscott steels for restaurant reincarnationDaily Item, March 11th
Mission on the Bay will be the partners' second location, the first being Mission Oak Grill in Newburyport. Plans for the restaurant include two levels of dining, including on a rooftop deck. The restaurant will also retain a snack bar/take-out counter...Read more
CIF state wrestling championships: Gilroy's Alex Felix finishes third at 132 ...Contra Costa Times, March 7th
Felix was 6-1 in the tournament, with his only loss by one point (3-2) to Mission Oak-Tulare's Jaden Enriquez in the semifinals. He was the highest South Bay placer Saturday at Rabobank Arena, but six other area wrestlers also placed in the top eight...Read more
Asheville takes spotlight as Arts & Crafts capitalAsheville Citizen-Times, February 15th
At that first conference in 1988, there were 40 exhibitors of Art & Craft pottery, tiles and the signature Mission Oak furniture made by Stickley and other masters that provided the Grove Park Inn with its furnishings. There was only one contemporary...Read more
Different, new, tried 'n trueQuad City Times, February 1st
Stickley is a New York-based company named after the Stickley brothers, who made high-quality wood furniture in Mission Oak designs in the early 1900s. Knilans' is celebrating its 60th year of business this year. "We have a long history of being a ...Read more
Aminy Audi on leadership: How leaders can measure their success as they go ...Syracuse.com, January 18th
Aminy I. Audi is CEO and chairman of the board of L. & J.G. Stickley, the family-owned furniture manufacturer headquartered in Manlius. She grew up in Lebanon and met her late husband, Alfred, when he was visiting relatives. They married in the First ...Read more
Go Knoxville's fun things to doKnoxville News Sentinel, January 16th
Stickley Furniture, of Manlius, N.Y., was founded in the early 1900s by Gustav Stickley and his brothers and is best known for their classic Mission oak designs and outstanding craftsmanship. Danial will share a brief history of the Arts & Crafts...Read more