The Study Collection of William and Patsy Porter

We are excited to present a unique opportunity to own select objects from the Study Collection of William and Patsy Porter, amassed over the course of 60 years.

Since 1962, William and Patsy Porter have dedicated their lives to collecting and researching 20th century American furniture and decorative arts, ranging from the Arts & Crafts Movement to Mid-century Modern, with an emphasis on early 20th century design.

Having been introduced to the world of Arts & Crafts-era design as early collectors with little information, the Porters made it their mission to share their resources and knowledge with fellow collectors as they paved their way. They decorated their residence with rare and important examples of the early 20th century design by Gustav Stickley, Frank Lloyd Wright, Charles Rohlfs, Limbert, Roycroft and Dirk van Erp while collecting works by other notable American designers such as Charles and Ray Eames and Peter J. Danko to study and research the forms. It is their willingness and effort to learn and educate others that contributed to advancing the scholarship and collectorship of 20th century design.

In addition to giving lectures at the annual Grove Park Inn Conference on several occasions, the Porters have loaned a number of important objects from their collection to several prestigious institutions such as the Detroit Institute of Arts, Jackson Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Michigan State University, Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms, and Dallas Museum of Art.


Originally from Linesville, Pennsylvania, Charles P. Limbert was born in 1854 into the furniture business. His father was a dealer who trained Limbert once the family moved to Akron, Ohio in 1866. After working at his father’s Akron store, Limbert became a furniture salesman for Munk & Roberts in Connersville, Indiana and later John A. Colby Company in Chicago. In 1899, Limbert and fellow salesman Philip J. Klingman set up a showroom in Grand Rapids, Michigan to exhibit products from several makers. Starting in 1894, Limbert had begun to manufacture his own chairs, which he sold at the Grand Rapids store along with furniture by firms such as Old Hickory Chair Company.

In 1902, Limbert opened his own furniture factory, Charles P. Limbert Co., with around 200 employees in Grand Rapids. The manufacturing plant moved to nearby Holland in 1906. These formative years were the most prolific in the company’s history with the release of the popular Holland Dutch Arts and Crafts Furniture line, which included both indoor and outdoor sets. Influenced by frequent research trips to the Netherlands, Limbert’s style became an amalgam of Dutch and English Arts & Crafts as well as American Mission. To impress upon customers that Limbert furniture was made by hand, the company’s logo featured a man bent dutifully over a workbench. At the Limbert factory, some processes were executed by machine, but all assembly and finishing work was done individually by hand. Until 1915, Charles P. Limbert Co. produced the same models and styles with slight variations, omissions, and additions.

During World War I and into the 1920s, Limbert shifted his focus away from Arts & Crafts lines to follow the market demand for historical furniture styles like Tudor and Renaissance Revival. Limbert was in charge of the company until 1922 when his health began to fail and he passed away the following year. Charles P. Limbert Co. would continue to operate through the 1930s. Furniture from Limbert’s prime Arts & Crafts period is now held in high esteem by collectors and examples are on view at such places as the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan and the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art in Denver, Colorado.

Auction Results Limbert