I picked up a copy of “Goodbye, Mr Chippendale” by the mid-century designer T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings via Amazon recently and read it last weekend in a matter of hours. I had no idea how witty, if not a little sardonic, Mr Robsjohn-Gibbings was!
Despite the fact that he manages to slam Stanford White, Elsie de Wolfe, Dorothy Draper and Syrie Maugham in a matter of pages I found it an interesting read. Written at the time of post-war reconstruction in America – a very exciting time for designers I imagine – Mr Robsjohn-Gibbings takes a swipe at America’s preoccupation with antique collecting, and advocates a new modern American style of furniture to compliment the lives of a new young nation. Probably not for everyone, but worth reading nonetheless.
I enjoyed the illustrations by Mary Petty (my picks are below) who also contributes to another of his books, “Homes of the Brave”. It made me think though…how would our friend Mr Robsjohn-Gibbings feel about modern Americans favouring his vintage designs over newer more modern pieces – at a much higher cost? And how would he feel about his elegant and refined designs furnishing homes along with all the fussy decorations that he so vocally abhorred? Irony, perhaps. Food for thought, definitely.