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Child's Desk Set (Desk, Open Chair, Trash Basket)

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Child's Desk Set (Desk, Open Chair, Trash Basket)

Manufacturer: Joseph P. McHugh & Company (active New York, New York, 1878-1920)

Designer: Walter J.H. Dudley (American )

Date: 1914
Medium: Ash frame with wicker panels
Trash Basket Overall: 12 1/4 × 8 1/2 × 8 1/2in. (31.1 × 21.6 × 21.6cm)
Desk Overall: 26 1/2 × 33 5/8 × 18 5/8in. (67.3 × 85.4 × 47.3cm)
Open Chair Overall: 28 5/8 × 16 × 14 3/8in. (72.7 × 40.6 × 36.5cm)
Credit Line: Museum Purchase
Object number: 93.4.1-3
Text Entries

McHugh’s Craftstyle furniture, introduced around 1914 and designed by Dudley, united McHugh Mission and McHugh Willow, the company’s most profitable lines, Craftstyle utilized the wood frames and general outline of Mission designs and combined them with woven wicker panels. The company promoted the furniture for domestic settings, from the rustic camp to the sun room.

This set of three-quarter –scale furniture was made to furnish a playhouse for the Wertheim children of Elberon, New Jersey. The original estimate for furniture, linen upholstery, and pillows was $261.00. Signed by McHugh, the estimate promised “construction and finish of our usual high standard. Time to complete, about three weeks from date of placing order. …Our plan of Play house enclosed.” The “plan” was identical or similar to the ad (plate 33) for The Little St. Leonards Group found among Walter Dudley’s personal papers. The company could supply every playhouse detail including the Tick Tack Clock, the Alice in Wonderland paper frieze, and the fireplace, window, and door treatments.

Few McHugh interiors survive, and drawings such as this one offer a glimpse of the Arts and Crafts interiors Dudley and McHugh envisioned. The lack of surviving company documents makes it impossible to determine the number of complete interiors executed or even the extent of the company’s furniture production.