For the Love of Beauty: The Collections of Lora and Claiborne Robins

Time Period
1877 to 1924
1925 to Today
Art & Architecture
Decorative Arts

Learn more about nineteenth-century Hudson River School landscape paintings and colonial furniture collected by philanthropists Lora Robins (1912–2010) and her husband E. Claiborne Robins, Sr. (1910–1995). These items were displayed in their home Clear View, located in Richmond, Va. The Robins family bequeathed the house and its contents to the Virginia Historical Society. This feature represents the first time that this personal collection has been publicly displayed.

For the Love of Beauty: The Collections of Lora and Claiborne Robins was on display at the VMHC from March 12 – February 11, 2013.

Slab Table
Slab Table, Philadelphia, c. 1755-70, mahogany and poplar, green marble
Alternately labeled a slab, pier, sideboard, or console table, this design—judged one of the best of the period—is derived from Thomas Chippendale’s Gentleman and Cabinet Maker’s Directory (1754). The fine carving on the skirt, knees, and feet adds to the visual appeal. (VHS accession number: C.V.B.30)
Block-Front Chest
Block-Front Chest, Attributed to Eliphalet Chapin, Connecticut Valley, c. 1770-90, cherry and white pine
Block- and shell-carved case furniture—an American innovation introduced by John Goddard (1723/4-1785) of Newport, Rhode Island—is at the top of today’s market, bringing prices as high as seven figures. Influence of the Goddard and Townsend families spread to nearby Connecticut where this spectacular piece was produced.

Near Marlington, W. Va…. I felt that even though [photographs like this one] were not literally made in Virginia they are still representative of what once went on in the state." (VHS accession number: C.V.B.43)
Compass Seat Armchair
Compass Seat Armchair, Philadelphia, c. 1740-60, walnut
This extraordinary chair is from a group of seven in the Robins collection that were made by a highly skilled Philadelphia cabinetmaker whose distinct hand and style have been identified with certainty but whose name has been lost. The scrolled arms, shell carved knees, and trifid or drake feet are exquisitely carved. (VHS accession number: C.V.B.46)
Sugar Casket
Sugar Casket, Baccarat style, French or Russian 1815−1830 Lead glass and ormolu
Made in a style that originated in the French glassworks at Baccarat, but possibly produced in Russia, this hinged-lid caddy with swirled asymmetrical leaf decoration and gilding is a highly decorative example of its type. (VHS accession number: C.V.D.1)