I recently had the opportunity to sit down and talk about collecting Arts and Crafts furniture with one of the great experts–Stephen Gray. Stephen has been collecting since 1976 and has published and edited many books on the topic, and his collection was featured in a show at The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Connecticut.
Stephen’s collecting story began in the mid-1970s when he bought a turn of the (20th) century farmhouse in Columbia County, New York and decided to furnish it consistent with the house’s construction period. In college he had studied architecture and ultimately was drawn to the rectilinear, organic, and durable nature of Arts and Crafts furniture. As his tastes evolved he was further drawn to the experimental, earlier works of Gustav Stickley, and this is where he focused his collecting efforts. Throughout my conversations with Stephen five central themes evolved as the keys to his success in building his exceptional Arts and Crafts furniture collection. In this post, I’ll share those themes with you.