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Common Parlour at Houghton Hall. Photo by James Merrell.

The Pictures That Got Away: The Great Old Master Paintings That Sir Robert Walpole’s Grandson Sold to Catherine the Great

Friday, Jul 11, 2014
6 p.m. - 7 p.m.

Law Building, Lower Level
1001 Bissonnet Map & Directions

Presented by Thierry Morel, PhD, organizing curator of the exhibition “Houghton Revisited”; former director, London Friends of the Hermitage; and member of the Advisory Board, Hermitage Museum Foundation (USA), Inc.

Houghton Hall was originally designed to house the magnificent art collection of Sir Robert Walpole, Britain’s first prime minister. In 1779, the collection was sold to Catherine the Great of Russia after Walpole’s grandson squandered the family fortune. In the summer of 2013, the paintings traveled from the Hermitage to Houghton Hall for the first time since 1779—and thanks to recently discovered original hanging plans found neatly folded in a drawer in Walpole’s desk, most of the paintings were on view in the same positions they occupied in the 1740s. The grandest were back in the great gilded frames first designed for them by William Kent. Come along on an inside journey of the great works that got away.

A reception to meet the speaker follows the lecture. Guests may also enjoy the exhibition Houghton Hall: Portrait of an English Country House until 8 p.m. and join in a Your Turn to Speak Tour.

$5 MFAH members
$20 Nonmembers
Secure your seat in advance! Use the "Get Tickets" button above and print at home; call 713.639.7771; or visit any MFAH admissions desk.

More Houghton Hall Summer Lecture Topics
Fri., Jul. 18, 6 p.m. “A Splendid Legacy: Generations of Collecting at Houghton Hall”
Fri., Jul. 25, 6 p.m. “John Singer Sargent and the Sassoons: The Story of an Artist and His Patrons”
Fri. Aug. 1, 6 p.m. “William Kent: Designing for the Grand Tour Taste”

The Houghton Hall Summer Lectures receive generous funding from the Houston Antiques Dealers Association Endowment.