Author: Kim

The Decorative Arts Trust in Germany: Courtly Collections in Dresden, Leipzig, and Berlin

Spring is always a busy time for the Trust, and 2015 proved no exception, with two Study Trips Abroad to Germany. The itinerary focused on the eastern portion of the country, beginning in Dresden, and swinging up to Berlin in a large arc through Leipzig, Wittenburg, and Potsdam. Although the age of many of the cultural institutions and collections visited during this trip can be numbered in centuries, the political landscape of Germany has undergone numerous drastic changes within living memory. Particularly in the former East Germany, the memory of these changes—and the collective past the country continues to face—proved to be just as energizing and memorable to the participants on the trip as the gorgeous collections.

The first three days focused on sites around Dresden. As the seat of the electorate, and later kingdom, of Saxony until 1918, the city’s cultural life flourished under the patronage of a series powerful and wealthy rulers, in particular Augustus the Strong, who reigned from 1694 until 1733. Appropriately, the former palace of the ruling House of Wettin—the Residenzschloss, or Dresden Castle—was the first major stop of the tour.

Today, the castle houses five museums. Our time focused on the Historic Green Vault and New Green Vaults, with a brief jaunt through the Turkish Chamber of the Dresden Armory. In the Historic Green Vault, arguably one of the oldest museum institutions in the world, the splendid baroque architecture complemented the lavish displays of jewelry and historic metalwork, presented as an antique treasure chamber. The neoclassically-inspired New Green Vault presents its collection in a more typical museum setting, focusing on the objects themselves rather than the environment, including Johann Melchio Dinglinger’s “Bath of Diana,” whose chalcedony, or silicate quartz, bowl seems to float above its airy base of silver filigree.

The second day introduced the Trust travellers to more iconic sights of the city. Many of the highlights, including the Frauenkirche and Brühl’s Terrace, are simultaneously historic structures and some of Dresden’s newest buildings. Like much of the city, these two landmarks were obliterated during the Allied bombings of February 13th-15th, 1945. For the next fifty years, the rubble of these sites was left largely untouched by local East German authorities as a monument to the war. After reunification, plans moved forward for the reconstruction of these and many edifices using as much original material as possible.

A lunchtime boat trip down the river Elbe brought the group to Schloss Pillnitz, the summer palace of the rulers of Saxony. Now housing the Arts and Crafts Museum, the Dresden State Art collections, and the Palace Museum, the complex still exhibits the succession of decorative campaigns undertaken in the 18th and 19th century.

Day three began with a trip to Meissen and the Museum of the Porcelain Factory, where true porcelain was first manufactured in Europe beginning in 1710. During a tour of the Meissen Factory Museum, participants not only learned about the manufacture of true hard-paste porcelain in Europe, but also about the business model that made the company so successful. The manufacturing process was kept secret for as long as possible, but to safeguard company interest, Meissen introduced its iconic crossed swords logo in 1720 as one of Europe’s oldest trademarks.

The afternoon included two sites. Schloss Moritzburg, which began its life as a hunting lodge, pays homage to this heritage through Augustus the Strong’s collection of hunting equipment and trophies, including an assemblage of 71 red deer antlers in the dining room, among them the heaviest antler of it’s kind in the world, weighing 44 pounds. Trust members also enjoyed a special visit to the adjacent Saxon State Stud stables. The magnificent thoroughbred horses, though not among the decorative arts, were a gorgeous site as the trainers put them through their paces.

A highlight for many Trust travelers a tour of the vineyards of Schloss Proschwitz, the ancestral home of the Prinz and Prinzessin zur Lippe. Like many Germans, they have sought to reconstruct their heritage after reunification, in this case through repurchasing the house and land historically owned by their family, and returning the farm and vineyards into beneficial additions to the local economy. Their story, which stretches back decades, became an abiding memory for many on the tour.

The following morning, the group left Dresden for Wittenburg, by way of Leipzig. While the city’s most famous resident for English-speaking audiences is composer Johann Sebastian Bach, Leipzig has long been a hub of international trade, and it’s annual trade fair is the oldest in the world. The walking tour of the town allowed the group to discover many of the city’s surviving historic buildings such as the Market and Old Town Hall, but also new and rebuilt structures, such as the Felix Mendelsohn Monument in front of the Thomaskirche (where, incidentally, the group was treated to an organ recital of Bach’s music) the original having been demolished by the Nazi regime in 1936. The two museums seen this day, the Grassi Museum of Applied Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, house collections dating from the Middle Ages to the present. Trust members enjoyed displays varying antique lace to ceramics to artists working in the post-unification period.

The next day was filled with architecture, beginning with the Neoclassical grandeur of Schloss Wörlitz, the residence and brainchild of Leopold III, Prince of Anhalt-Dessau. Inspired by English landscape and architecture, the main house, built between 1769 and 1773, is believed to be the earliest neoclassical building on mainland Europe. Likewise, the estate’s Gothic House drew inspiration from Horace Walpole’s Strawberry Hill. Architect Friedrich Wilhelm von Ermannsdorff also built the cubic Schloss Luisium nearby for Leopold’s wife Luise Wilhelmine of Brandenburg-Schwedt. The interiors drew inspiration from the recently discovered ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum.

Centuries later, simple shapes such as cubes played a large role in the Bauhaus movement, though little else can be compared to Wörlitz. Most of the original architects and designers associated with the movement fled to the United States to avoid persecution in advance of World War II, and the school was subsequently occupied by the Nazis during the conflict. Today, the ultra-modern structures of the complex again serve as the architecture school for the local university.

The following day brought the group to Potsdam, right outside of Berlin, to visit the royal palace of Sans Souci. Although reminiscent of Versailles, Sans Souci was built as a private home for the kings of Prussia. Occupying only one story, the sumptuous interior pointedly made no provision for court life. Frederick the Great only entertained his close friends, artists, and scholars there.

By contrast, Charlottenburg Palace in Western Berlin encompassed all the pomp of royal life, including the lavish display of the Prussian Royal collections, including the Porzellankabinett, or porcelain room. The floor-to-ceiling display of blue and white Chinese and Japenese porcelain glistened against their gilt and mirrored backgrounds, truly a vision to make any ceramics enthusiast go starry-eyed.

The final two days of the trip were spent in Berlin proper, enjoying the city’s spacious thoroughfares and fine museums. As is to be expected, the Trust travellers enjoyed visits to several spectacular decorative arts collections at the Bode Museum, the Museum of Decorative Arts, and Schloss Köpenic. The artistic tastes of Frederick III were displayed through the spectacular desk built by David Roentgen, now on view at the Museum of Decorative Arts. This masterpiece of cabinet making and clockwork is complex that Roentgen provided a book to explain its inner workings—a video showing some of its mechanical wonders can be seen here (N.B. link to Met’s video). Any visit to Berlin’s museums, however, would not be complete without paying homage to two of the most iconic exhibits: the Pergamon Altar at the Pergamon Museum, and the Bust of Nefertiti at the Neues Museum.

Thank you to all who participated in this trip, either in person, or through this blog! It was truly a pleasure to take forty Trust members to Germany, and we hope you’ll share your favorite memories or objects with us in the comments below.

Stay tuned for further, more regular, updates from this blog in the coming months! We have an exciting schedule lined up, including September’s Maine symposium and the fall study trip to Sicily!

The Natchez Symposium: The Treasures of the Trip

The Natchez symposium, Historic Natchez: Jewel of the Lower Mississippi, was a delightful look at a unique destination, and we could not have asked for more knowledgeable and gracious hosts along the way. Welcomed by both the Historic Natchez Foundation and the Natchez Historical Park, we were so impressed by the hospitality and the work that they are doing to preserve the local treasures in Natchez that we awarded grants to both organizations.

Here’s a sampling of what we saw and learned about in Natchez. Those who joined us early for the Thursday optional tours had the pleasure of visiting Rosedown, Wakefield, Butler Greenwood, and Oakley.

Rosedown Plantation

The main house on Rosedown Plantation was built in 1834-35 by Daniel and Martha Turnbull. At its largest, the plantation grew to approximately 3,455 acres, most of which were planted with cotton. As a result, Turnbull was known before the Civil War as being one of the wealthiest men in the nation. Upon building the house, the Turnbulls turned to the finest furniture makers in the North and Europe, and many of the pieces they purchased remain in the house, including a suite of furniture by the Philadelphia cabinetmaker Anthony Quervelle.

The gardens at Rosedown were made remarkable by the efforts of Martha Turnbull. In her lifetime, she expanded the formal gardens to include almost 28 acres of the property in the tradition of the formal European gardens she had seen in France and Italy when the couple honeymooned there.

It was good fortune that when the house was sold in 1956 to Catherine Fondren Underwood, she took it upon herself to begin an eight-year restoration project that included the gardens. Ralph Ellis Gunn used the garden diaries of Mrs. Turnbull to reconstruct the gardens as close as possible to their original design.

Wakefield

Wakefield

We had a delightful picnic lunch at Wakefield, the house of Sarah Turnbull Stirling, whose brother built Rosedown. Wakefield was built just a year later, and while it has been altered, the first floor rooms remain intact, and much of the furniture made by New York cabinetmaker Duncan Phyfe can still be seen in the house.

Wakefield was built by the Stirlings when their children had already left home, but the house features many bedrooms as the couple entertained many visitors. They visited New York City to purchase items for their new home and spared no expense. In addition to furniture from Duncan Phyfe, they purchased chairs from Oliver Edwards and Cyrus Baldwin. The Stirlings also ordered draperies and decorative wallpaper while in New York.

 

Butler Greenwood

ButlerGreenwood_1

Butler Greenwood is currently looked after by author and historian Anne Butler. Butler represents the seventh generation of the Flower, Mathews, Lawrason, and Butler families who have maintained the home. The parlor at Butler Greenwood is nearly untouched from when Harriet Flower Mathews decorated it with a suite of rosewood furniture she ordered from Hubbell & Curtis in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1859 and 1860. Today the room, as a result of Anne Butler’s efforts, is destined to be interpreted and preserved by the professionals at New Orleans Museum of Art.

The collection has also been inventoried by the Classical Institute of the South and is accessible via online database.

 

“Thank you for the utterly delightful days in Natchez. Even though it was not my first visit there, I found new enlightenment and perspective. It was a treat from start to finish.”–Marilyn N.

 

Oakley


Oakley_1Our next tour was at Oakley Plantation House which is now part of the Audubon Memorial State Park in West Feliciana Parish. Construction of the house began in 1799 for Ruffin Gray who purchased the land from Spanish authorities. While Gray died before the house was completed, his wife Lucy Alston remarried James Pierre of Scotland. The two had a daughter, Eliza, and they brought John James Audubon to the plantation in 1821 to serve as Eliza’s tutor. While Audubon only stayed at Oakley for four months, it was here that he painted 32 of the works that would later become part of his Birds of America.

 

 

Stanton Hall

Next we saw the Greek Revival style Stanton Hall that has Italianate detailing, like most Natchez mansions from the period of 1855-1860. While we only have exterior photos to share of this National Historic Landmark, we can assure you that the interior is grand and true to its origins. Photos taken at the time of owner Frederick Stanton’s death document the original furnishings and show the eclectic style typical of the mid-19th century. Among the treasures to be found at Stanton are original gasoliers and sconces by Cornelius and Baker of Philadelphia.

Longwood

Longwood, another National Historic Landmark, that, like Stanton Hall, is opened to the public daily by the Pilgrimage Garden Club, has a unique history. While the house is America’s largest octagonal house, construction of the structure was never completed as a result of the Civil War. Haller and Julia Williams Nutt hired architect Samuel Sloan of Philadelphia to build the Italianate mansion that is crowned by a Moorish dome. Northern masons and carpenters were brought in to build the house, but when the Civil War began in April 1861, the Northern workmen went home. Because the house was unfinished, Nutt and his family made the basement of Longwood a temporary home, but Nutt died in 1864 and, as a result, the family continued to live in the basement. The house remains unfinished, but a lithograph prepared by Sloan’s office shows what it would have looked like had it been completed.

Melrose

Yet another National Historic Landmark and another Greek Revival house, Melrose, built for Pennsylvania native John McMurran and his wife Mary Louisa Turner, is a grand Natchez mansion. Of interest at Melrose are several architectural details that are related to the area’s climate. These include a jib window, a dining room punkah, a staircase in the secondary lateral stair hall, and hinged windows in the clerestory to vent the attic. Original furnishings, formal gardens, a landscaped park, and original outbuildings all add to the experience.

Green Leaves

GreenLeaves_1While Green Leaves is another example of a Greek Revival in Natchez, it is unique because it was built with prefabricated materials. Local builder Thomas Seaton is credited with the construction of the house from the prefabricated materials; however, it is unlikely that he designed the sophisticated house. Today it is an excellent example of mid-nineteenth-century taste thanks to the efforts of the descendants of George W. and Mary (Beltzhoover) Koontz who have carefully preserved the house, its furnishings, and its gardens. The fully enriched Doric portico makes for a notable façade while the interior boasts lavish finishes.

Richmond

Richmond_1Richmond is a unique house because it was built in three distinct stages: 1) a simple one-and-a-half story gabled-roof house built on a raised basement from as early as 1784, 2) a double-tiered gallery addition during the Federal period, and 3) a Greek Revival addition ca. 1840. This third addition was made by Levin and Sarah Marshall and is still owned by their descendants, Lela Jeanne Nall and Anna Mary Rowell, who hosted the Trust at the house.

 

 

 

Lansdowne

Also owned by Marshall’s descendants, Lansdowne was purchased by Levin Marshall’s son George Marshall and his wife Charlotte Hunt Marshall in 1853. While the house is a single story, the interior is grand in scale and as finely finished as many other Natchez mansions. The house features a central hall that extends the full depth of the house. The property has original outbuildings that functioned as the kitchen, billiard room, privy, and quarters of enslaved servants. Among those things the family has successfully preserved at Lansdowne are the original wallpaper in the parlor and the original marbled and oak-grained painted finishes on the interior. It also has the original Cornelius and Company gas fixtures. The house at one time had its own private gas plant. The original furnishings on display include a Rococo Revival parlor, Romanesque Revival dining chairs, and an assortment of Gothic Revival, Elizabethan, and Renaissance Revival furniture in the hallway.

Bontura

Bontura_1Our last main tour in Natchez was at the home of Free African Americans Robert and Ann Smith who built the house in 1851. Smith was born free in Maryland and purchased his wife and children while he was living in New Orleans. After freeing them, he moved the family to Natchez and ran a successful dray and carriage business. Smith died in 1858, and Joseph and Fanny Bontura purchased the house from Ann Smith. The couple added a two-story wing that included an inn for travelers. The house is a simple Greek Revival brick townhouse with side hall plan. The house is currently privately owned by Dr. and Mrs. James Coy, and we thank the Coys for allowing us to host our receptions at Bontura.

 


 

Many Natchez attendees stayed on for an extra day to see a number of the sites at Plantation Countryside. Enjoy some of the photos from Plantation Countryside below.

Thank you to all those who joined us in Natchez!

The Trust Travels to England: The Cotswolds

The last few days of our Study Trip Abroad to England took us to The Cotswolds where we visited Sezincote, Asthall Manor (shown above), Quenington Old Rectory, and Kelmscott Manor.

Sezincote was designed by Samuel Pepys Cockrell in the early 19th century to be reminiscent of architecture in India; however, the interior is classic Greek Revival. Humphrey Repton was involved in the garden design that is a renaissance-style garden with elements of Hindu style. The Indian influences at Sezincote were a result of the family having been part of the East India Company.

Our journey through The Cotswolds then took us to Asthall Manor, a gabled Jacobean manor house that was built around 1620 and then enlarged in the early 20th century. Built of local Cotswold limestone, the house features both mullioned and mullioned-transomed windows and a stone-slated roof that is typical of the area. The house was originally built for Sir William Jones and then sold in 1688 to Sir Edmund Fettiplace. It didn’t change hands again until 1810 when it was sold to John Freeman-Mitford, the first Baron Redesdale. In 1899, the Freeman-Mitfords added electric power via a water turbine fed by the River Windrush. The Mitford sisters were known for entertaining at Asthall. Nancy Mitford’s The Pursuit of Love includes the fictional Alconleigh house which is largely based on the sisters’ home, and Jessica Mitford’s Hons and Rebels describes what life was like at Asthall. We enjoyed exploring the house and the six-acre garden where we saw some of the sculpture featured in the on form exhibition.

Next we ventured to Quenington Old Rectory where David and Lucy Abel Smith live and host the Fresh Air contemporary art and sculpture show in an effort to support and promote the visual arts with a focus on sculpture. The Old Rectory’s garden is completely organic and contributes to Lucy’s creations in the kitchen. Below are some of the works we saw while visiting the garden.

Our last visit in England was to Kelmscott Manor, a limestone manor house in the Costwold village of Kelmscott, Oxfordshire. The manor was built around 1570 with an addition in the late 17th century. The house was built by Thomas Turner and remained in the Turner family until 1870. Writer, designer, and socialist William Morris lived in the home from 1871 until he died in 1896. Morris featured Kelmscott Manor in his News from Nowhere. The house is also shown in Dante Gabriel Rosetti’s painting Water Willow of Jane Morris, William’s wife. Today the house is maintained by the Society of Antiquaries and features many of Morris’s textiles and furniture.

Thank you to all who joined us in England for a fabulous trip. We hope all participants enjoyed the tour, and we’d love for you to share your favorite sites or objects with us in the comments below.

We look forward to our next international trip which takes us to Germany next spring. The demand for the trip to Germany was so high that we are taking two groups. There are still a few spaces open, so please join us if you aren’t already signed up!

The Trust Travels to England: Cambridge

King's College Chapel

Our second stop in England this fall took us to Cambridge. Here we include just a sampling of the libraries and homes we visited there.

One of our first stops, and certainly a most breathtaking one, was King’s College Chapel (shown at left and above) where we took in the magnificent vaulted ceiling, the largest fan vault in the world. The Gothic Chapel at the college founded in 1441 by King Henry VI was completed in 1515 by John Wastell. The stained glass windows date from the first half of the 16th century.

Trinity CollegeWe also visited Trinity College and the Wren Library. The photo at right shows members of the Trust gathered outside of Trinity College.

The Wren Library at Trinity College was another building designed by Christopher Wren whose work we first observed in Oxford as mentioned here. Completed in 1695, the library currently houses manuscripts and printed books that were in the library prior to 1820. In addition, the library is home to special collections, including 1250 medieval manuscripts, the Capell collection of early Shakespeare editions, many books from Sir Isaac Newton’s library and his personal notebook, the Rothschild collection of 18th century English literature, an autographed collection of poems by John Milton, and A.A. Milne’s manuscripts of Winnie-the-Pooh and The house at Pooh Corner.

England_Wren_2The library, the interior of which is shown at left, was one of the first to include large windows that would allow for plenty of reading light. The interior also features limewood carvings by Grinling Gibbons and plaster cast busts of notable writers. In addition, there are marble busts, most of which were carved by Louis-Francois Roubiliac.

That same day we toured the Fitzwilliam Museum and had the pleasure of a private look at the storage and furniture collections.

The museum was designed by George Basevi and built in 1837 by C.R. Cockrell in the neo-classical style. Upon the death of Viscount Fitzwilliam in 1816, his library and art collection was bequeathed to Cambridge University, and the collection is now housed in this museum. Included in the slideshow below are photos of the museum itself as well as some of the objects we saw. The first is an Italian chest from the 17th century and possibly from Venice or Crete. It is made of Cypress and decorated with biblical subjects that were first drawn with a reed pen and then revealed by cutting the background away. The cabinet shown is Flemish, from Antwerp ca. 1640, and is made of ebony and oak panels and painted in oils with ivory and mirror glass. The two doors and underside of the lid show episodes from the story of The Prodigal Son, possibly by Frans de Momper (1603-1660). Behind the central door lies a “perspective,” which was an illusion created by a chequered floor and mirrors, a feature common to 17th century Antwerp cabinets.

Our first day in Cambridge would not have been complete without a trip down the River Cam to take in the Bridge of Sighs at St. John’s College and was topped off with dinner at Peterhouse College.

Left: The Bridge of Sighs at St. John's College Right: Peterhouse College
Left: The Bridge of Sighs at St. John’s College
Right: Peterhouse College

While staying in Cambridge, we also headed northeast to visit Blickling Estate, one of England’s great Jacobean houses. The house was built in 1612-24 by Robert Lyminge for Sir Henry Hobart. Lyminge also designed Hatfield. Before Lord Lothian left Blickling Estate to the National Trust’s care, the manor had been home to the Boleyns, to Sir Henry Hobart, 1st Baronet, Lord Chief Justice to James I, and to Lord and Lady Suffield. The estate also houses the RAF Oulton Museum.

Home to a wonderful collection of furniture and paintings, the house also features a Pre-Raphaelite frieze painted by J.H. Pollen in 1850 above the bookcases in the Long Gallery, which was converted into a library in 1745 (shown at left). The library collection is known for the famous Blickling Homilies, one of the earliest extant examples of English vernacular writings, as well as the Lothian Psalter, an 8th-century illuminated psalter.


Not far from Blickling Estate, we visited Holkham Hall, an active family home of the Earl of Leicester and his wife and four young children. At Holkham Hall we received a tour that included the library and state rooms with Dr. Suzanne Reynolds.

This Palladian style home was designed by William Kent and Lord Burlington and has not been altered much since its completion in 1762. The Great Hall includes marble pillars and alabaster and classical sculpture. Art in the house includes works by Van Dyck, Rubens, Poussin, Claude, and Gainsborough. The Long Library, which was designed by William Kent, is 54ft long and 18ft wide.

Before settling into our last destination in Tetbury, which we will cover in our final post about the England Study Trip Abroad, we visited Claydon House and Blenheim Palace. We had the pleasure of seeing the lavish 18th century interiors of Claydon House, home to the Verney family for more than 550 years. Most interesting was the Chinese room, which features imported wallpapers and textiles, porcelain, and screens and lacquered furniture. Unfortunately, photography is not allowed inside the house, so we have only exterior photos to share.

 

Claydon House


Our last stop while staying in Cambridge was Blenheim Palace. Presented to the first Duke of Marlborough after he defeated Louis XIV in 1704, the palace was built by Sir John Vanbrugh from 1705-1722, and consists of two high baroque stories built around a vast courtyard. Among the items housed inside are mementoes of Sir Winston Churchill, who was born at Blenheim Palace.

 

The Decorative Arts Trust at the Winterthur Institute

Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library is currently hosting its annual Winterthur Institute, featuring courses taught by Winterthur staff and guest lecturers. This two-week intense course of study focuses on American decorative arts from the 17th through the 20th centuries. Winterthur houses the largest collection of decorative arts made or used in America between 1640 and 1860, so the Winterthur Institute offers a unique opportunity for participants to experience firsthand significant artifacts. Several courses are taught in period rooms and exhibition spaces at the museum, and participants also have the opportunity to go on field trips to local historic sites.

Today the Decorative Arts Trust’s executive director, Matthew Thurlow, is lecturing on neoclassical furniture at the Institute, as well as offering two workshops.

The Trust is also pleased to have helped sponsor a scholarship to the Institute. This year’s recipient, Alexandra Parker from Fairfax, VA, is a graduate of the Smithsonian-George Mason Decorative Arts program. Parker is currently completing her thesis on American-made knife boxes and their cabinetmakers. To date her studies have focused on the history of furniture and textiles and she has interned with the National Museum of American History, the White House Historical Association, and the Fairfax County Park Authority.

The Trust offers a variety of scholarships for graduate students and young professionals in the decorative arts field. The deadline for our next scholarship opportunity, the Dewey Lee Curtis Symposium Scholarship, is tomorrow. Learn more here and apply today. Find out more about all of the scholarship opportunities offered by the Trust on our website.

The Trust Travels to England: Our Time in Oxford

Broad Street, Oxford
The Trust takes a walking tour of Broad Street with Balliol College in the distance

Members of the Trust are currently in England for this fall’s Study Trip Abroad: British Libraries and Country Houses. To revisit the trip itinerary, you can see it on the Trust website, or you can follow along with us on the blog and learn about the places we are visiting as we go.

Our first few days of this trip were spent in Oxford. Beginning with a walking tour of Broad Street and a visit to the Bodleian Library, our first day brought the wonderful opportunity to see the work of architects Christopher Wren, James Gibbs, and Nicholas Hawkmoor. In addition to Wren’s famous door into the Bodleian Library, we saw the Sheldonian Theatre at the University of Oxford. And the next day we had the pleasure of seeing Wren’s Tom Tower at Christ Church.

The work of architect Christopher Wren--the door to the Bodeleian Library, the Sheldonian Theatre, and Tom Tower at Christ Church
The Trust admires the work of architect Christopher Wren–the door to the Bodeleian Library, the Sheldonian Theatre, and Tom Tower at Christ Church

Our first day also took us to the Radcliffe Camera, work of architect James Gibbs, originally built to house physician John Radcliffe’s library. Today the Camera contains two undergraduate reading rooms at the University.

James Gibbs's Radcliffe Camera
James Gibbs’s Radcliffe Camera

While in Oxford, we had the pleasure of visiting both the library at Merton College, the world’s oldest continuously functioning library for academics, and the Getty Library at Wormsley, which celebrates the Art of the Book.

The library at Merton College and the Getty Library at Wormsley
                  The library at Merton College and the Getty Library at Wormsley

Other notable stops in Oxford included the opportunity to see two wonderful porcelain collections. At the Ashmolean Museum, we saw the Marshall Collection of Worcester porcelain, the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of Worcester porcelain. Also at the Ashmolean museum, we saw some to the Kunstkammer objects the museum received when Michael Wellby died in 2012. The museum plans to open a gallery dedicated to the Wellby Collection in 2015. The second notable porcelain collection we saw was the Sèvres collection at Waddesdon Manor.

The Marshall Collection and the Wellby Collection at the Ashmolean Museum and the Sèvres porcelain at Waddesdon Manor
The Marshall Collection and the Wellby Collection at the Ashmolean Museum and the Sèvres porcelain at Waddesdon Manor

Our adventures in England have only just begun. There is more to come from Cambridge and Tetbury. We’ll share some initial photos from the tours in these locations in the upcoming days, and we will follow up with even more details when we return. The Trust would love for members to share comments along the way, and if you have questions or want to know more about the places we visited or the collections we saw, please ask. We look forward to sharing more about our trip with everyone.

Apply Now for the Trust’s Dewey Lee Curtis Symposium Scholarship

What do a young professional re-installing historic house exhibits, a student of New Jersey furniture, and an enthusiast of southern interiors have in common? They’ve all been recipients of a Dewey Lee Curtis Symposium Scholarship from the Decorative Arts Trust!

For every domestic symposium, the Trust’s scholarship committee selects two recipients from an applicant pool of current graduate students and emerging professionals. The trust is accepting scholarship applications for the 2014 Natchez Symposium until September 18th. As regular attendance is sold out, this is the only opportunity left to attend!

Attending these symposia help emerging scholars stay current on the latest developments in the field, network with other professionals and enthusiasts, and gain new perspectives on their own work. Last year, the Trust brought Caryne Eskeridge up to Concord Massachusetts for the fall symposium. As one of the curatorial fellows for the Preservation Society of Newport, she was tasked with re-installing period room displays at the Hunter House, the earliest structure currently owned by the Society.

“I left energized and full of ideas for my current projects,” she reported. “I enjoyed meeting so many people interested in the decorative arts as I start my career.”

Although Caryne has now moved on to be Research Curator at the Classical Institute of the South, her stamp can still be seen at the Hunter House, which recently garnered high praise in this review from Engaging Places.

How would a trust scholarship benefit you? The only way to find out is to apply! Applications can be submitted through the Trust’s on-line page. The deadline for the Natchez symposium is September 18th, so apply now!