Like a Byrdcliffe on a wire – Rare Arts & Crafts antiques on the block Feb. 22

One of my very first assignments as an antiques writer, way back when at the turn of the century, was to journey across the Hudson River from my home in Rhinebeck, NY to Woodstock, NY – the namesake town of he concert that actually happened in Saugerties, NY, just one town north (where, incidentally, I covered high school sports at the same time) – to do a story on the Byrdcliffe Colony.

I was working for a Hudson Valley antiques paper called Notheast Journal of Antiques and art, and it owner and founder, Harold Hanson thought it would be a good story for me. Harold was never wrong.

I knew Woodstock well, having one of my good friend’s family based out of the town. I loved its natural beauty, and – sometimes – the funky hippy vibe. The Tibetan Buddhist vibe there was also very cool. Somehow, though I’d see the historical markers everywhere, the history of Byrdcliffe had eluded me.

Check out the link above to learn more, and let me just say that I was quickly charmed by the elegant furniture and Utopian ideals of the movement’s founders. A tremendous amount of great talent was gathered in one place for a very brief time, and it yeilded extraordinary, and far too few results. The pieces of furniture are well-valued and well coveted.

Byrdcliffe was founded in 1903 by rich Englishman Ralph
Whitehead and his American wife, Jane Byrd McCall. They might while students of Arts and Crafts guru John Ruskin. They set about creating  Byrdcliffe in 1892. It continues today as the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild.

Here’s some exciting news about Brigg’s Auctions in Boothwyn, PA, auctioning off several pieces of Byrdcliffe furniture from the Whitehead house itself on Feb. 22. Amazing and elegant stuff and I’ll be interested to see how it sells.

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