What’s the difference between Antique Arts and Crafts furniture and Mission furniture?
If you’re looking for antique Arts and Crafts furniture, you may have also heard of ‘Mission Furniture” and wonder what the difference is between the two.

Actually “Mission” or “Mission Style” furniture is just another name for Arts and Crafts furniture.

The word “Mission” refers to the influence that traditional furniture, furnishings and decorative items from the American Southwest had on the Arts and Crafts movement in the United States in the early days.  It is interesting to note that many of the antique pieces of Arts and Crafts furniture found today resemble pieces found from the English Arts and Crafts movement.

Antique Arts and Crafts furniture is still popular today in countries all over the world
.  Here’s a few reasons why:

  • Simple designs using high quality materials
  • Construction was simple, often with exposed joints
  • Blending the use of handcrafted design with mechanical techniques
  • The philosophy of the Arts and Crafts movement was dedicated to making simple, beautiful furniture available to the middle class

What Types of Antique Arts and Crafts Furniture is Available Today?

Antique Arts and Crafts Furniture:

Look for antique Arts and Crafts furniture from Stickley, Morris, Ruskin, Mackintosh, Thompson and Ashby.  You’ll need to be aware that antique Arts and Crafts furniture will usually be expensive and it’s important to verify the condition and quality of it before buying it.

Antique Arts and Crafts Metalworks:

You’ll find antique metalworks come from Roycroft, Stickley, W.A.S Benson, John Pearson and Hugh Wallis.

Antique Arts and Crafts Ceramics:

The oldest pottery factory in the United States Fulper Pottery Company, became known for their 1909 Vasecraft line.  Through the years, another company – Rookwood Pottery had many different well known ceramists on staff including Artus Van Briggle, Matthew A. Daly, William P. MacDonald, Albert Valentien, and John D. Wareham. And of course, there’s Tiffany, with his still-famous and coveted lamps.

A Brief History of Antique Arts and Crafts Furniture

In the spring of 1897, a group of well-known and influential designers, educators and architects from Boston and the surrounding area organized an unusual exhibit that featured hand-crafted furniture, decorations and other hand-made craft items.

The exhibition was created by people who wanted to bring the Arts and Crafts reform movement to the United States. It opened on April 5, 1897 at Copley Hall in Boston and featured more than 1000 pieces created by American craftspeople – about half of which were women, which was very unusual in itself for the times.

On June of that same year, the Society of Arts and Crafts was officially created.  Attending the first meeting were the 21 founders who included: Ross Turner, painter; William Sturgis Bigelow and Denman Ross, art collectors, writers and MFA trustees; General Charles Loring, Chairman of the Trustees of MFA; Sylvester Baxter, art critic for the Boston Transcript; Mr. Ralph Clipson Sturgis, architect; and Mssrs. Howard Baker, and Mr. A.W. Longfellow.

The mission of the society was to  “develop and encourage higher standards in the handicrafts.”  Unlike the Arts and Crafts movement in England, which was supported and enjoyed mostly by the wealthy and upper classes, the movement in America was dedicated to reaching those who where firmly entrenched in the middle class.

Thanks to these men and women, antique Arts and Crafts furniture that was created over 100 years ago is still available today and is just as beautiful as it was back then.