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 T.H. (Terence Harold) Robsjohn-Gibbings  (1905 - 1976)



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Lived/Active: New York / United Kingdom      Known for: furinture design, draftsman, writing

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Ad Code: 4
Biography from Rago Arts and Auction:
T. H. Robsjohn-Gibbings, Terence Harold Robsjohn-Gibbings, was born in England in 1905.  In his teens, Robsjohn-Gibbings worked as a draftsman designing interiors of passenger ships for the London design firm of Heaton, Tabb and Co.  He then studied architecture at the University of Liverpool and London University and received additional training at the Slade School of Fine Art.  Robsjohn-Gibbings left London and headed to New York in 1930 to work for Charles of London, an importer of Elizabethan antiques and furniture. 

Gibbings opened his own showroom on Madison Avenue in 1936.  One of his most important commissions came in 1938, when Robsjohn-Gibbings designed the furniture and interiors for the Casa Encantada in Bel Air, California for Hilda Boldt Weber.

Amongst the furniture produced for this large commission, Robjohn-Gibbings introduced his earliest Klismos chairs.(1)   He was not interested in purely imitating ancient Greek, Egyptian, Roman, and Asian influences, but rather worked to modernize these aesthetics while remaining true to a sense of timeless beauty that recalled, yet modernized these historic aesthetics.(2)   Gibbings published widely.  Some of his notable musings on furniture and design include Good-Bye, Mr. Chippendale (1944), Mona Lisa's Mustache: A Dissection of Modern Art (1944), Homes of the Brave (1954), and Furniture of Classical Greece (1963).

Gibbings produced furniture with manufacturers such as Widdicomb, Saridis of Athens, the Urban Furniture Company, and Baker Furniture, although he much preferred creating custom pieces that weren't subject to the demands of industry.(3)   One of the most iconic works he produced for Widdicomb was the Mesa coffee table with its three, graduated levels reminiscent of a plateau formation.  First introduced in 1951, the table measured roughly 9 feet long by 6 feet wide.  Some of his most memorable work includes the line of Greek revival furniture he designed for Saridis of Athens. 

T.H. Robsjohn Gibbings died in 1976.

1. Head, Jeffrey. "T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings" in ed. Todd Merrill and Julie V. Iovine, Modern Americana (New York: Rizzoli, 2008) p. 195
2. Ibid, p.196
3. Ibid, p.199

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