Roycroft Collection

Cover Image:
Portrait of Roycroft founder Elbert Hubbard in iconic wide-brimmed Stetson hat with a scarf tied in a bow at his throat
Portrait of Roycroft founder Elbert Hubbard in iconic wide-brimmed Stetson hat with a scarf tied in a bow at his throat

Collection Facts

Extent:
786

Historical Context

The Roycroft Arts and Crafts Community was a preeminently American  manifestation of the international Arts and Crafts movement in the decorative and fine arts that developed earliest and most fully in the British Isles and subsequently spread across the British Empire and to the rest of Europe and America during the nineteenth century. The Arts and Crafts movement emerged from the attempt to reform design and decoration in mid-19th century Britain. It was a reaction against a perceived decline in standards that the reformers associated with machinery and factory production.

The reformist Roycroft community was founded in 1895 when former Larkin Soap Company executive Elbert Hubbard was inspired by the ideas of artist/craftsman William Morris and his Kelmscott Press to found a fine art private press in the bucolic setting of East Aurora, New York and to gather a community of printers, furniture makers, metalsmiths, leatherworkers and bookbinders to manifest these principles in their artisanship. The Roycrofters’ purpose was to revive the high level of artisan skill and craftsmanship that characterized medieval guilds.

The Roycroft creed was adopted from English writer, philosopher and art critic John Ruskin who articulated it as follows:

A belief in working with the head, hand and heart and mixing enough play with the work so that every task is pleasurable and makes for health and happiness.