Inspired by the ideas of the Arts and Crafts Movement, the Englishman Ralph Whitehead, who had studied under John Ruskin at Oxford, sought to establish his own ideal, self-sustaining art community in the United States. After a failed experiment in Oregon, in 1902 he founded the Byrdcliffe Arts and Crafts Colony right outside Woodstock, New York. In 1903 he published his vision for the community: ‘[It] is our intention to make furniture of a simple kind which shall be good in proportion, and to which distinction may be given by the application of color and carving by artists' hands (…)’. This oak linen press perfectly embodies these ideas in its modest, rectilinear shape, hand-carved panels and wood surfaces finished with transparent stains in natural colors. The piece also illustrates Whitehead’s idea of artists working together and combining skills to create beautiful and honest furniture pieces. While he himself designed the outline of the linen press, the carved panels with stylized sassafras leaves were designed by Edna M. Walker, who graduated from Brooklyn's Pratt School of Design before joining Whitehead in 1903.