35 1/2 in. x 72 in. x 26 7/8 in. (90.17 cm x 182.88 cm x 68.26 cm)
Bryn Mawr College
North and Central America, United States
Furnishings and Furniture; Furniture
American design; Indian manufacture
Lockwood de Forest (1850-1932) was an American-born artist who is most well-known for his landscape painting and interior design, as well as for his partnership with Louis Comfort Tiffany and the Associated Artists in New York. As a young man he travelled frequently with his family, touring Europe, North Africa, and parts of the Middle East before the age of 25, but his greatest interest was in the decorative arts of Eastern India. De Forest spent many years in Ahmedabad overseeing a workshop where craftsmen produced carved furniture, tracery panels, jewelry, and textiles for export to New York City.
This sofa was designed as a set with several armchairs (Deanery.355, Deanery.356) and side chairs (Deanery.357, Deanery.358, Deanery.359) specifically for M. Carey Thomas’s large sitting room, the Dorothy Vernon Room. Designed by de Forest during the Deanery expansion of 1908-1909, the room was modeled after one in Haddon Hall, Derbyshire, England, which Thomas had visited numerous times while she was a student, traveling in Europe. De Forest designed the room as a mixture of English and East Indian design, although Japanese teakwood tables and Tiffany lamps were used in the room as well. After the Deanery was razed in 1968, a new Dorothy Vernon Room was installed in Haffner Hall, about a quarter size of the original room, where many of the ceiling stencils, furniture, and other furnishings were re-located.
The suite of furniture to which the sofa belongs is crafted of a dark brown wood, possibly walnut or teak. The pieces are stenciled with black paint in typical de Forest designs and embellished with panels of perforated copper. The patterns for the stenciling and copper panels are of traditional East Indian design, while the style of the sofa and chairs themselves is reminiscent of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century English furniture – an appropriate combination for the mixed aesthetic of the Dorothy Vernon Room.
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Arts and Crafts
- An aesthetic and social movement of the late 19th century that originated in England and spread to the United States, Germany, and Northern Europe. A reaction against industrialization and the quality of manufactured goods, the movement is marked by a desire to revive the craftsmanship associated with traditional arts, a form follows function philosophy, and an idealized view of the medieval craft guilds.
- Nationality, styles, and culture of the modern nation of India, or more broadly to cultures that developed on the subcontinent of India, which is bounded by the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean, the Bay of Bengal, and the Himalayn Mountains. It may also refer even more broadly to cultures of India, the East Indies, and the former British Indian Empire. It was formerly used less specifically to refer to any Oriental or Asian culture. Do not use this term to refer to the indigenous populations of North or South America; see "Native American" or other appropriate terms.
- Long, upholstered seating objects with a back and two ends, and primarily used for sitting rather than reclining. Distinct from "couches (reclining furniture)" which have a back support and one end and are primarily used for reclining rather than sitting. The term "sofa" was first used in France at the end of the 17th century as an alternative for canapé. The terms sofa and settee are virtually interchangeable in 20th-century usage but there is a distinction between the two; a sofa is generally completely upholstered.
- Method of creating multiple copies of a design by cutting it out of a thin yet durable sheet, such as thin brass or plastic, and dabbing, pouncing, spraying, or rubbing a color substance through the openings. For printing from stencils, use "stencil printing."
- Refers to the fixed soft coverings for furniture, especially seating and reclining furniture. Originally referred to all the textile components of a room supplied by upholsterers, including wall hangings, bed hangings, window curtains, and table coverings.
- The principal tissue of trees and other plants that provides both strength and a means of conducting nutrients. Wood is one of the most versatile materials known.
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The following Bibliography exist for this object:
Roberta A. Mayer,
Lockwood De Forest
University of Delaware Press.
Newark, NJ, 2008
Page Number: 187,
Figure Number: 170