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Byrdcliffe Arts Colony Collection

St. Lawrence River Sunset, n.d. by Birge Harrison

In 1902 the Byrdcliffe Arts Colony was established in Woodstock. The year-round utopian community promoted the Arts and Crafts movement, which emphasized individual, hand-crafted work over mass production. Wealthy Englishman Ralph Radcliffe Whitehead and his wife, Jane Byrd McCall, along with writer Hervey White and artist Bolton Brown, founded the colony; its name was derived from the middle names of the Whiteheads, who financed the project.

Byrdcliffe drew artisans from across all media: furniture makers, painters, printmakers, photographers, metalworkers, weavers, ceramicists, and others, as well as writers and musicians. Classes were offered, and notable teachers included co-founder Bolton Brown, Hermann Dudley Murphy, Birge Harrison, and William Schumacher. Byrdcliffe continues to flourish today under the auspices of the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild.