Skip to main content

John Dickinson

American, 1920-1982

Playful, sculptural, unexpected: Illustrious designer and decorator John Dickinson created interiors, lighting fixtures, seating and other furnishings that were wholly peculiar and unlike anything seen before. The Berkeley, California, native mined design movements of bygone eras for elements he would later integrate into what would become his signature anthropomorphic work.

Dickinson was inspired by Art Deco designers such as Jean-Michel Frank, who similarly drew on the past for his extravagant pieces, and found appeal in the claw-foot tables and seating that Georgian-era furniture makers produced.

Although Dickinson attended the Parsons School of Design in New York, he returned to the West Coast following graduation. He worked for decorating firms and furniture stores, and, in 1956, he set up his own practice in San Francisco, where he reinterpreted heritage in his sculptural lamps, stools and chairs with legs that terminate in hooves or resemble bones and tree branches.

Dickinson’s spare but sophisticated furniture is often associated with a “golden age” of San Francisco decorating that includes the work of designers Charles Pfister and Michael Taylor. Wider recognition over the years owes to collectors’ interest and exhibits such as “Fantasy and Function: The Furniture of John Dickinson,” which opened at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 2003.

Despite his irreverent approach, Dickinson’s pieces were luxury items. He crafted lamps of unpolished brass and tables in chalky white plaster with a resin coating. His most iconic works are his Etruscan tables with legs resembling hooved animal feet and his Three-Legged African table, which was inspired by an artifact he discovered in an import shop. Dickinson took on only handpicked, young, well-to-do clients who were willing to give him free rein to experiment with these unusual forms and industrial materials. Leading department stores like Lord & Taylor, however, were also among his clientele. In 1977, Dickinson was commissioned to design a furniture collection for Macy’s. It featured white lacquered bookcases that drew on urban architecture and table lamps with bodies that mimicked animal bones.

Owing to his untimely death, and the fact that he worked in plaster, a highly breakable material, few of Dickinson’s original pieces exist to this day. Their scarcity renders every remaining Dickinson design a valuable heirloom guaranteed to make a statement in any room.

Find vintage John Dickinson furniture on 1stDibs.

Average Sold Price
$6,690
Styles
Materials
John Dickinson Prototype African Table from the Firehouse, San Francisco
By John Dickinson
Located in Chicago, IL
John Dickinson Prototype African table from the Firehouse, SanFrancisco; Painted wood. This unique table anchored the seating area in the Firehouse where Dickinson would entertain h...
Category

1970s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage John Dickinson

Materials

Wood

Original Production John Dickinson Galvanized Steel Drape End Table, Signed
By John Dickinson
Located in Los Angeles, CA
This exceptionally rare and high-sought after collectors item is the John Dickinson model #107 drape end table with trompe-l'œil fabric motif in galvanized steel and brass binding. T...
Category

1970s American Modern Vintage John Dickinson

Materials

Brass, Steel

Vintage Plaster John Dickinson Draped Knot Floor Lamp
By John Dickinson
Located in west palm beach, FL
An iconic vintage John Dickinson floor lamp. Beautiful draped design with the classic knot design. Acquired from a Palm Beach estate.
Category

Late 20th Century North American Bohemian John Dickinson

Materials

Plaster

Rare 1970's Custom Designed John Dickinson Sofa
By John Dickinson
Located in New York, NY
Stunning custom designed sofa by John Dickinson Newly reupholstered in a luxurious fabric.
Category

1970s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage John Dickinson

Materials

Upholstery

John Dickinson King Size Four-Poster Bed from the Firehouse
By John Dickinson
Located in Chicago, IL
John Dickinson king size four poster bed from the firehouse Hand carved and stained mahogany. Mattress size is California King. Shown in The New York Times Book of Interior Design...
Category

1970s American Early Victorian Vintage John Dickinson

Materials

Mahogany

Authentic John Dickinson Original African Series Table, Model 103
By John Dickinson
Located in West Palm Beach, FL
From the imagination of John Dickinson (1919-1982), we offer this authentic, iconic occasional table fashioned of cast plaster over rebar. The primitive animal paw-legged piece is a ...
Category

1970s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage John Dickinson

Materials

Plaster

John Dickinson Two-Legged Zoomorphic Console Table, Prototype in Plaster
By John Dickinson, Sutherlands
Located in Dallas, TX
This is the Prototype of the Two-Legged Zoomorphic console table from the series eventually produced by David Sutherland. An extraordinary John Dickinson Design.
Category

21st Century and Contemporary American Mid-Century Modern John Dickinson

Materials

Plaster

Pair of Rare John Dickinson Stacked Books End Tables
By Drexel, John Dickinson
Located in Chicago, IL
Pair of very rare John Dickinson bibliotheque end tables, a very limited edition design from Drexel's Et Cetera collection. Three large Shakespeare books make up the tabletop, with t...
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage John Dickinson

Materials

Metal

  • Pair of Rare John Dickinson Stacked Books End Tables
  • Pair of Rare John Dickinson Stacked Books End Tables
  • Pair of Rare John Dickinson Stacked Books End Tables
  • Pair of Rare John Dickinson Stacked Books End Tables
H 20.25 in. W 35.38 in. D 25.38 in.
Browse all Furniture from John Dickinson
Shop Now

John Dickinson Sellers

Show Pony Palm Beach
5.0
Assemblage Ltd.
5.0
Lobel Modern, Inc
5.0
Marymont Plantation Antiques
4.5
Prime Gallery LLC
5.0

John Dickinson furniture for sale on 1stDibs

John Dickinson's furniture is available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive objects are often made of wood and designed with extraordinary care. In our John Dickinson Collection, there are many options to choose from, although gray editions of this piece are particularly popular. There are 21 vintage versions of these items in stock, while there is 0 modern edition to choose from as well. Many original furniture by John Dickinson were created in North America during the 20th century in the Mid-Century Modern style. If you’re looking for additional options, many customers also consider furniture by Gerald McCabe, J. Wade Beam and Phillip Lloyd Powell. Prices for John Dickinson furniture can vary depending on size, time period and other attributes. Price for these items starts at US$950 and tops out at US$110,000, while pieces like these can sell for US$18,800 on average.

Recently Viewed

View More