Pieces from the Arts & Crafts movement are most often tied to a handful of makers. Hubbard, Limbert and, of course, the Stickley brothers are some of the names conjured up in our minds when we talk about Arts & Crafts furniture.
Furniture built by these names – or the companies they operated – has a similar look. Slats, square and beefy legs, flat panels and exposed mortise-and-tenon joints all reflect the Arts & Crafts movement in full force in the United States at the time.
Take a look at Arts & Crafts period furniture built abroad, and you’ll likely notice a difference. Names such as Voysey, Gimson and Barnsley made pieces that had more shape and design. Another name from that period that is often lost in history is Arthur Simpson. His early work was ecclesiastical, but time spent working in London opened his eyes to the domestic market.
As I searched for a unique project from the Arts & Crafts period, Simpson’s stool caught my attention. Made from white oak, it had ties to the work produced in the States, but differed greatly from stools built by Stickley and the others.
Simpson’s stools have tapered legs with an added twist of finishing octangular at the floor. They are simple in joinery – four mortise-and-tenon joints in all – yet have details in construction that challenge many woodworkers. Plus, the seat of woven leather adds to both comfort and appearance.