“The Anvil Chorus”: Another Look at the Roycroft Shops

by Kate Nixon


Sept. 19, 2020 1:00 EDT
The Anvil Chorus: Facts and Fictions of the Roycroft Metal Shop

The latest Zoom course from the Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms will delve into the history of the Roycroft Copper Shop, located in East Aurora, NY. Among the largest producers of handcrafted Arts and Crafts metalware, decades of work were produced from this shop from its early life as a blacksmithing shop turning out iron lamps and chandeliers to the later production of copper works to candlesticks, the shop stands as a testament to the Roycroft legacy and has been preserved on the Roycroft Campus for visitors and enthusiasts to enjoy.

Offered as the second session of “The Creative Spark: Rethinking Decoration in the Arts and Crafts Movement,” this class is the latest online course offered from the Stickley Museum’s Virtual Classroom. Attendees can expect to explore the history of the Copper Shop as well as the style of works created and the evolution of the small company into an Arts and Crafts standard.


Desk Set, ca. 1915-30. Courtesy of Dan Morphy Auctions.


Bookends, ca. 1913-14. Courtesy of Rago Arts and Auction Center.


A description from the Stickley Museum’s website:

“As unlikely as it seems, the Roycroft Community was amongst the movement’s longest-surviving shops, producing metalwork for nearly four decades.  To put this in perspective, that is longer than Robert Riddle Jarvie, Gustav Stickley, and Karl Kipp’s Tookay Shop combined.  From the problematic nature of the “early, middle, late” system of marks, to what we know and don’t know about the maker’s marks, this class is a blend of connoisseurship, history, and critical thinking.  We will cover the history of the shop from inception through the 1930s, the finishes developed by the shop, and the numbering systems assigned throughout the endeavor’s long duration.”

The third and last of The Creative Spark sessions taught will take place on Saturday, September 26th; “‘Tortured by Exaggerated Lines’: The Decorative Impulse and the Arts and Crafts” will explore the experimentation outside simple straight design with exaggerated designs and disfigured ornament, using examples of Charles Rohlfs, Frank Koralewsky, and Arthur and Lucia Mathews.

Each session is $25 and takes place over Zoom, hosted by the Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms, and instructed by Director of Collections Jonathan Clancy.

Please register for the session here: https://www.stickleymuseum.org/learn/programs-for-adults/