Lockwood de Forest
(1850 - 1932)
Ahmedabad Wood Carving Company
Pierced Decorative Metalwork from the Deanery
7 1/4 in. x 12 7/8 in. (18.42 cm x 32.7 cm)
Bryn Mawr College
North and Central America and Asia, United States and India
Furnishings and Furniture; Wall Coverings
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.
These pieces of decorative metalwork, in rectangular, paisley, and “peacock” designs, were installed between the exposed beams of the ceiling in M. Carey Thomas’s sitting room, known as the Dorothy Vernon Room. 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 stencils, furniture, and other furnishings were re-located.
De Forest began producing brass stencils like these in 1881, using a pattern book supplied by the director of his Ahmedabad workshop, Mr. Muggenbhai Hutheesing. The workshop produced close to 200 different filigree designs, continuing after 1889 under the direction of Hutheesing’s two sons.
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