Christopher Forbes Will Auction His Collection of American Arts and Crafts at Rago’s

  • LAMBERTVILLE, New Jersey
  • /
  • June 27, 2012

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The Schley House, Christopher Forbes’ home in Colorado: The seating area in the great room.
Photographed by Scott D.W. Smith for Style 1900 magazine
The Schley House, Christopher Forbes’ home in Colorado: The dining area in the great room.
Photographed by Scott D.W. Smith for Style 1900 magazine

Roycroft furnishings, lighting and metal ware, pottery, Navajo rugs and more from his Colorado retreat.

 Christopher Forbes has chosen Rago’s for the sale of a 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 is on October 27, 2012. The catalogue will be available online and in print in early October. 

“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.

The Schley House, Christopher Forbes’ home in Colorado: Drop-front desk and antler chair.
Photographed by Scott D.W. Smith for Style 1900...

Christopher (Kip) Forbes is the third of five children born to publishing magnate Malcolm Forbes. He is the Vice Chairman of FORBES, the media company established by his grandfather in 1917.  He has served on the boards of numerous museums and is currently Chairman of the American Friends of the Louvre. 

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.”

Those with interest in the auction can sign up for an e-mail alert at or call Rago's at 609-397-9374.

About Rago Arts and Auction Center

Since 1994, Rago's has served thousands of sellers and buyers with a singular blend of global reach and personal service. Originally specialists in 20th century design, today Rago's expertise covers centuries of fine art, decorative arts, furnishings, jewelry and ethnographic property.  It is a world-class venue through which to buy and sell. It is also a destination for those who seek to learn and share knowledge about art, antiques and collecting, offering free valuations for personal property (from a single piece to collections and estates), appraisals and auction exhibitions in house and online. Rago's, the largest and leading auction house in New Jersey, is located midway between Philadelphia and New York.




Rago Arts and Auction Center
333 N. Main Street
Lambertville, New Jersey

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