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  1. 23 Feb
    Thu / 2012
    In late January, Rienzi’s first ever exhibition, English Taste: The Art of Dining in the Eighteenth Century, closed. I find that it is still slightly jarring to walk through the Dining Room, where during the four months the exhibition was on view, I became used to the sight of dishes such as larded hare, flummeries, and samphire. Replacing the elaborate dinner table setting is a display of Paul Storr silver pieces. Three...

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  2. 21 Feb
    Tue / 2012
    This March, the Rienzi and Bayou Bend Book Club is reading The Arcanum: The Extraordinary True Story by Janet Gleeson. Focusing on the development of Meissen porcelain in the 18th-century, Gleeson tells the tale of three Johanns, all instrumental in the process of creating “white gold”: Johann Frederick Böttger, Johann Gregor Herold, and Johann Joachim Kändler. Meissen, founded in 1710, was the first European porcelain manufactory to develop hard-paste porcelain similar to Asian...

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  3. 07 Feb
    Tue / 2012
    One of my favorite rooms at Rienzi is the Library; as a self-proclaimed bibliophile, it’s a natural fit. Rienzi’s Library contains many classic texts, from Frances Burney’s Camilla to George Eliot’s Middlemarch and Evelyn Waugh’s A Handful of Dust, but of particular mention is a compilation of Shakespeare from 1632. On the bottom right hand side rests a red leather bound book with the title “Shakespeare’s Works London 1632.” Also found in Library at Windsor Castle,...

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  4. 18 Jan
    Wed / 2012
    This morning I popped into the Rienzi kitchen to find another staff member adding freshly cut flowers to a vase. “Where are those from?” I asked, thinking someone picked up a few bouquets of beautiful deep pink flowers from the grocery store. “The gardens,” was the reply.  As a native New Englander, I was perplexed. Wait. Flowers? It’s January, we haven’t even started winter! I haven’t even had a chance to wear wool sweaters yet! I...

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  5. 19 Dec
    Mon / 2011
    For some, the Christmas season is not only a very festive time of year, but one of devotion and reflection. Rienzi has several paintings pertaining to the reflective nature of Christmas. One of these paintings is Saint Joseph and the Christ Child, painted by the Italian Guido Reni between 1638 and 1640, is on view year round in Rienzi's Library. Reni created many remarkable devotional paintings during the Catholic Counter-Reformation.  Against his father’s wishes, Reni became an...

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