Condition Report

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Back to Early 20th c. / February 27, 2016



Jin-di-sugi frame, Minneapolis, MN, 1904-14; Carved and painted cypress, decorative pierced brass roundel; Unmarked; 31 3/4" x 24"

Estimate: $2,500 - $3,500

Condition Report

A few small chips to edges, some minor scratches.


“The influence he exerted upon Minneapolis, and, through it, upon the entire Northwest, by the exercise of his art and the faithful persistent performance of his true craftsmanship cannot be overestimated. He was an apostle of beauty...” - Obituary, The Bellman, August 15, 1914, p. 216

Just as Louis C. Tiffany and Gustav Stickley were titans of Art & Crafts design in the Northeast, so was John Scott Bradstreet in the Midwest. Born and raised in Massachusetts, he moved to Minneapolis in 1872 and opened his own furniture company with a partner in 1878. The city was a rapidly growing region in the late 19th century and provided a fertile market for savvy designers like Bradstreet. He made a name for himself reproducing period furniture and catering to fashionable tastes across the United States and by the early 1900s had begun to design and build his Crafthouse.
Originally an Italian villa-style home, Bradstreet redesigned the property as an Oriental retreat influenced by his travels: England, Italy, Spain, and especially Japan. It opened for business in January 1904 with the sole purpose of manufacturing fine home furnishings by hand. The Crafthouse’s extensive gardens were complete with a central pool full of white lilies and pink and purple lotuses – perhaps the inspiration for lot 434’s elegant decoration. At its height in 1910, Bradstreet had over eighty craftsmen in his employ, many of them using techniques that he had brought back from his journeys, such as jin-di-sugi (lot 435).
A bastion of good taste who believed that designers should use the best of many aesthetics, Bradstreet successfully combined Arts & Crafts precepts with Aesthetic Movement and Japenese design. The care and attention he lavished on every aspect of a project is manifest in the two lots presented here.

The jin-di-sugi process was inspired by jindai-sugi (“cedar of God’s age) panels Bradstreet had seen at Japanese temples. They were made of wood from cedar trees that had been submerged in water and mud for hundreds of years, exposing the raised hard grain which artisans then utilized for carving intricate designs. After much trial and error, Bradstreet was able to reproduce the effect, which Louis Tiffany praised as the most unique and artistic wood treatment he had ever seen. It involved scorching cypress wood, then wire-brushing it to reveal the raised hard fiber grain, followed by washing and waxing, and then carving, painting, and/or staining it as the artisan desired.