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 side chair can be seen in a 1904 photograph of the Deanery, located in a hallway between M. Carey Thomas’s study (an early version of the Blue Room, designed by de Forest in 1896) and her friend Mamie Gwinn’s small study. After the Deanery was renovated and expanded in 1908-1909, the chair was moved to Thomas’s large 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 ceiling stencils, furniture, and other furnishings were re-located.
On Loan to the Philadelphia Museum of Art
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