Collections News: Some Clews to Stickley’s Taste

by Jonathan Clancy, Director of Collections and Preservation

Photo: James and Ralph Clews, “American and Independence” plate, ca. 1818-34. Transfer-printed glazed stoneware, 10 ½ inches (d). Museum purchase.

Amongst the holes we’ve been eager to fill at the Museum since the opening of last fall’s exhibition Circa 1917: Rediscovering Craftsman Farms are the historical pieces that Stickley owned which greatly expand our understanding of the Log House interior and Stickley’s own tastes. Because of its distinctive scalloped edge and flowing ribbons listing the names of states, this was the first piece of English Transferware we identified from photographs of the Log House which appeared in the November 1911 issue of The Craftsman. Prominently displayed on the massive sideboard he built for the Log House Dining Room, we wondered at first whether this was something he owned (and even liked) or whether it was something brought with the photographer who arrived to photograph the house prior to family moving in. Looking back through The Craftsman, we found the same pattern displayed on the sideboard in Stickley’s Columbus Avenue house in Syracuse, and–most significantly–used to adorn a number of promotional photographs (or retail plates, see below) of his furniture taken in 1902.

Photo: 1902 Retail Plates

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