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About this collection

The objects in this online collection were created at the Byrdcliffe Art Colony in Woodstock, New York, founded in 1902 by Ralph Radcliffe Whitehead, Bolton Coit Brown, and Hervey White. Whitehead was an acolyte of William Morris and John Ruskin, and an adherent of the Arts & Crafts movement promoting simple, hand-made design in reaction to the perceived impersonalization of craft during the Industrial Revolution. Whitehead's wife, Jane Byrd McCall, was also key to the conceptual development of Byrdcliffe as a utopian colony where manual work in an idyllic environment would permit the evolution of art and design that communicated, as Byrd wrote, “a simple life, the best worth living.” During Byrdcliffe’s first few years, artistic production, especially furniture, flourished. But producing elegantly hand-crafted objects was too costly in the face of mass-produced items on the consumer market. By 1915, Byrdcliffe functioned primarily as a place where the Whiteheads could live peaceably and raise a family. From 1915 until 1926, Ralph and Jane Whitehead experimented with ceramics, creating a large number of objects that they referred to as White Pines Pottery, named after their home on the campus. The streamlined Arts and Crafts furniture, decorative arts, and two-dimensional works created during Byrdcliffe’s golden age form the core of the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild’s collection. The collection can be consulted by appointment; please email info@woodstockguild.org.

 

 

 
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