Panel made in Chiniot, Punjab (today Pakistan), ca. 1881–82. Shisham wood. Victoria and Albert Museum, London, IS.2370-1883.

John Lockwood Kipling (1837-1911) was an English artist, teacher, museum curator, and writer who had close ties to the English Arts & Crafts Movement and who made his reputation in India during the era of the Raj. His work in India played a key role in shaping the ideas and goals of American artist and designer, Lockwood de Forest (1850-1932).
Lockwood Kipling, as he was known, was the father of author Rudyard Kipling. He was already an accomplished illustrator and a professor of sculpture at the Mayo School of Art in Lahore when he met Lockwood de Forest and his wife on their honeymoon in India in 1881. There the two became friends – united by their fascination with East Indian crafts and design – and the elder Lockwood tutored the younger one in the intricacies of Indian décor and culture. This period coincided with de Forest’s first business with Louis Comfort Tiffany in the export of Indian-made items from the subcontinent, Indianizing decorative tastes in both the United States and Great Britain. In the United States, de Forest aided Tiffany in furnishing the era’s grand homes, several of which were later photographed for Artistic Houses. In fact, de Forest also contributed extensively to the design of Tiffany’s spectacular studio in the Tiffany family mansion on 72nd Street in New York with custom-made carved teakwood and dramatic architectural salvage from the Indian city of Ahmedabad.

The breadth of de Forest’s connections to India and the United States make this a significantfacet of our investigation of the topic. Participants will visit two museum collections withimportant holdings of de Forest’s work to gain perspective on de Forest’s role in bringing Indiandesign to America. A keynote address will be presented by Roberta A. Mayer, one of the leading researchers on de Forest and author of Lockwood de Forest: Furnishing the Gilded Agewith a Passion for India (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2008).

This program includes discussions with Kurt Behrendt, Associate Curator of South Asian Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Roberta Mayer, Associate Professor, Bucks County Community College, Emily Orr, Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary Design, Cooper Hewitt, and Amy G. Poster, Consulting Curator, Asian Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and Curator Emerita, Asian Art, Brooklyn Museum.

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