Terrence Harold Robsjohn-Gibbings was a prolific designer of interiors and furniture. Born in England, he eventually began working in the United States before settling in Athens. He was inspired by the Greek furniture depicted in ancient paintings and Greek vases, and this is particularly evident in a large commission he worked on in the 1930s, the Casa Encantada, a house designed for Mrs. J.O. Weber which was eventually purchased by Conrad Hilton.
Working closely with James Dolena, the Casa Encantada's architect, Robsjohn-Gibbings referred to his design as "timeless," explaining that, "timeless design has unique characteristics; it transcends national concepts of beauty; its appeal is universal."
Grand though the house and its furnishings may be, what stands out about the furniture designed by Robsjohn-Gibbings is its clarity of line and form. "Simplicity in a house means rational thought," said Robsjohn-Gibbings, "It means rational thought freeing the imagination." Accentuating the simple lines of his furniture, the designer used primarily blond woods, contributing to the modern lightness they impart upon an interior.
In 1946, after the Casa Encantada was completed, Robsjohn-Gibbings went on to design mass-produced furniture for two companies -- Widdicomb Furniture Company of Grand Rapids, and Saridis of Athens. By doing so, Robsjohn-Gibbings made available to multitudes what had at one time been available only to the very wealthy.
DESIGNED BY T.H. ROBSJOHN-GIBBINGS AND EXECUTED BY THE PETERSON STUDIOS FOR THE CASA ENCANTADA, BEL-AIR, CALIFORNIA, CIRCA 1937
A CARVED 'HOLLYWOOD' FRUITWOOD BED AND CONSOLE
Designed by T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings and executed by the Peterson Studios for the Casa Encantada, Bel-Air, California, circa 1937
The headboard flanked by a pair of attached oval side cabinets; the side cabinets with attached 'acanthus' lamps
85in. (216cm.) high, approximately 151in. (383.5cm.) wide
Mrs. J.O. Weber.
Mr. Conrad Hilton.
Sotheby Park-Bernet, New York, Neo-Classical Art Moderne Furniture, Part II, 5 February 1981, lot 87.
Christie's East, New York, 20th Century Decorative Arts, 9 June 1998, lot 171.