As is the case with many iron beds that came out of the 1800’s, their styles did not always seem appropriate for that period of time. Even though they were being produced in the Victorian Era 1837 to 1901, many of the styles coming out of that period could easily be categorized as styles from the Georgian, which ran from 1714 to 1830…….Art Nouveau 1890 to 1910 …………..Craftsman 1910 to 1925………..Art Deco 1920’s thru 1930’s.
There was quite a lot of overlapping in styles and designs from period to period.
But one of the largest grouping of beds that were of a definite style which were being produced it seemed way before their time, were the ones that had definite Craftsman styling to them. As mentioned, the Craftsman Period in design history was approximately between 1910 and 1925. Yet there were an abundance of beds being made in the Victorian Period of 1837 to 1901 that didn’t look Victorian, but instead looked Craftsman…….with clean lines and no ornamented curves or scrolling synonymous with the Victorian or Art Nouveau Periods.
So how is it these Craftsman style beds were being made long before their period? I have to believe there were numerous designers that were experimenting with new designs that the public had not seen before, in an attempt to possibly establish a market for something other than what was currently being produced. The Victorian and Art Nouveau Periods were known for their beautiful scrolling, flowing designs and ornate castings. Quite the opposite of what Craftsman styling would become known and famous for.
True Craftsman beds, made in the Craftsman (Arts and Crafts) period were traditionally made of wood. But what few antique iron beds that were made then were made with square tubing. But there were very few of them made and even fewer seemed to have survived. The square tubing was thinner and prone to cracking and splitting if it was ever exposed to the elements. The round thick wall tubing of the Victorian Era was much more durable and strong.
Best known today for his beautifully designed Craftsman furniture was Gustav Stickley. In recent decades, Stickley and his work have become popularly recognized once again. It is particularly his early furniture, produced between 1901 and 1904 that is considered rare and ultra collectible. In 1988, Barbra Streisand paid $363,000 for a Stickley sideboard from Craftsman Farms.
Although like any popular antique who’s days are long gone, reproductions of the Craftsman Period are plentiful. Some obviously better than others. But none as collectible as those of the true Craftsman Period.