Christopher (Kip) Forbes, son of publishing magnate Malcolm Forbes and Vice Chairman of Forbes, will sell his personal collection of Roycroft furnishings and metal ware, as well as other property from his two houses in Colorado's Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The auction will take place October 27 at Rago.
Pictured at the Schley House, Christopher Forbes' home in Colorado: The seating area in the great room. The Dard Hunter chair. Drop-front desk and antler chair. (Photographed by Scott D.W. Smith for Style 1900 magazine)
"Kip Forbes has been buying furniture, lighting, and accessories made by the Roycroft Community circa 1900 - 1915 for over three decades," said David Rago. "I've had the pleasure of knowing him since the 1980s and I count it a privilege to handle this sale for him. It's one of the finest collections of Arts and Crafts material to come to market in the past ten years."
Among the Roycroft property for sale is a one-of-a-kind chair made by Dard Hunter. Illustrated in the 1994 Head, Heart and Hand: Elbert Hubbard and the Roycrofters published by the University of Rochester Press, it bears the legend "Sit down and rest thy weary bones." There is a leaded window from the Roycroft Inn and the original drawing of the Inn, both also by Dard Hunter. There are two exceptional bookcases, a double door and a triple door, the double door being especially rare with two drawers below and in untouched original condition. There are two window seats with registration numbers from the Roycroft Inn; the carved door sign from the "Victor Hugo" room at the Roycroft Inn; two Roycroft Chandeliers; several Roycroft table lamps; a Roycroft Double Morris Chair, in addition to three regular Roycroft Morris Chairs; numerous pieces of Roycroft copper work including two American Beauty vases, a fernery, and a jardinière; a tall magazine pedestal; a mouse-hole tabouret; a dining room set with table, chairs, sideboard and server; several chests; two pairs of twin beds; plus various stands and other accessory furnishings and decorative arts, including pottery and Navajo rugs.
In the 1970s, Forbes took charge of a pair of run-down 1915 houses on the Forbes family ranch. As renovations progressed, he bought Arts and Crafts furniture which he felt was undervalued and appropriate to the period of the house. In time, he began to appreciate the aesthetics and philosophy of the Arts and Crafts movement. He particularly admired the prominence of the orb-and-cross insignia with which Roycroft founder Elbert Hubbard marked each piece that emerged from his East Aurora, N.Y. workshops. And thus the collection began.
"Hubbard was one of the first ones to realize that branding was a good thing," Forbes told Style 1900 magazine editor Fred Albert in an interview that appears in the magazine's Summer 2012 issue. "There was no discreet little Gustav Stickley label-it was right there in front of the furniture. I thought the guy was a brilliant marketer."