Thanks to the generosity of one Colorado family, the Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms has been entrusted with the care of one of their family’s seats, an early 1902 Gustav Stickley #2341 reclining chair in nearly perfect original condition. 1911 images of the Log House interior at Craftsman Farms show only one reclining chair form in them, and that form is the #2341.
In 1901, a successful and forward-thinking attorney/businessman named John L. J. Jerome decided to build his family a summer home southwest of Denver on Christmas Hill near the town of Buffalo Creek, Colorado. La Hacienda — as the home would be known — was sighted and designed by the noted Colorado architect Frederick Junius Sterner (1862-1931) in a manner that could have come right out of Gustav Stickley’s magazine The Craftsman. During a 1902 trip to Auburn, N. Y., Jerome purchased 35 pieces of early Gustav Stickley furniture for his home from G.W. Richardson & Son, early retailers of Stickley’s furniture. Shipped in crates by train to Colorado, the furniture (along with wall coverings by William Morris) informed La Hacienda’s interior scheme.
Over the last century, generations of the Jerome-Hart family have lovingly cared for the home and its furnishings. Through a turn of events, the family became interested in donating their chair to the SMCF. A consortium of friends of the Museum consisting of John Toomey, Robert Kaplan, Beth Cathers, Marilee Boyd Meyer, and David Rudd worked with the Hart family to bring their gift to Craftsman Farms, where it was officially presented to the museum in October 2012 at its annual fundraising gala.
Very few examples of the #2341 chair are known to exist. The Jerome-Hart piece is singularly important both for its provenance and its pristine condition, retaining the original leather cushions, leather sling seat, and dark original finish.
For additional information, see the full history by James G. R. Hart.
–Thanks to the SMCF Collection Committee Chair Mark Weaver and Registrar Bernadette Rubbo for their contributions to this essay.