Hanging lantern (one of a pair)
Overall: 76.2 x 40.6 x 15.2 cm (30 x 16 x 6 in.)
Medium or Technique
Copper, nickel silver, stained glass, leather
Lorraine and Alan Bressler Gallery (Gallery 222)
Unfulfilled by running a soap company in Buffalo, New York, Elbert Hubbard quit his job and searched for inspiration, first at Harvard, then on a walking tour of England. Hubbard found his muse when he visited Williams Morris’s Kelmscott Press, which produced beautiful, artful editions of Morris’s own writings, and works by the leading authors of the period. Stimulated by Morris’s ideas, Hubbard returned to the United States, founded a printing press to publish his own writings and established Roycroft, a utopian artist community in East Aurora, New York. Hubbard’s charismatic personality attracted talented artisans to his workshops, while his business acumen promoted their wares using mass-marketing methods.
This three-light lantern is one of twelve that hung in the dining hall of the Roycroft Inn, built in 1903 for visitors who came to observe and purchase goods from the community. Designed by Dard Hunter and made by Karl Kipp, head of the Roycroft Copper Shop, the lantern illustrates the strong Viennese influence on many of Roycroft’s products. Hunter, a young and talented designer, eagerly studied English and German publications, which included the work of the budding Vienna Secession. This exposure is evident in the geometric design of the lantern, accented by glass squares of varying colors.
This text was adapted from Ward, et al., MFA Highlights: American Decorative Arts & Sculpture (Boston, 2006) available at www.mfashop.com/mfa-publications.html.
Probably of a set of lanterns made by Hunter for the main dining room at the Roycroft Inn in East Aurora, New York; purchased from Robert Edwards, Rosemont, Pennsylvania, in 1980.
Harriet Otis Cruft Fund
Reproduced with permission.