Ali Baba Bench


Roycroft Shops ( American, 1895 - 1938 )

c. 1900
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General Description

An iconic work of the American Arts and Crafts movement, the Roycrofter’s Ali Baba Bench is composed of a split log seat with intact bark and a framework with canted legs and a horizontal stretcher. Its rusticity lies not only in its simple and rough-hewn construction, but also its namesake; "Ali Baba" was the nickname of longtime Roycroft Shops employee Anson Alonzo Blackman, a figure who exemplified the movement's values of humility and physical labor. The firm's advertisements for the bench touted it “as a good fair sample of what Roycroft furniture is, this Ali Baba Bench speaks for itself. Made like Ali Baba – strong serviceable and with the bark left on, but with a polished top; that’s why we call it the Ali Baba Bench, for it looks so much like him…”

Excerpt from

Samantha Robinson, DMA unpublished material, Label text, 2015.