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Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory, Vase from a set of Three Blue Nouveau Vases, 1760s, soft-paste porcelain, Marquess of Cholmondeley, Houghton Hall. Photo: Pete Huggins, by kind permission of Houghton Hall.

A Splendid Legacy: Generations of Collecting at Houghton Hall

Friday, Jul 18, 2014
6 p.m. - 7 p.m.

Law Building, Lower Level
1001 Bissonnet Map & Directions

Presented by Christine Gervais, associate curator, decorative arts and Rienzi.

Bought or commissioned by eight generations of descendants of Sir Robert Walpole, England's first prime minister, the objects at Houghton Hall comprise a fascinating chronicle of centuries of collecting. From inkstands to wine coolers, the silver made for Sir Robert evokes his role as statesman as well as his legendary hospitality.

Most of the extant silver was made by Paul de Lamerie (1688–1751), widely recognized as England’s greatest 18th-century silversmith and a fitting maker of objects for the prime minister. Houghton’s equally impressive collections of Vincennes and Sèvres, comprised of tableware and “collector pieces,” were begun in Paris in the 19th century by the present Marquess’ great-great-grandfather Gustave de Rothschild (1829–1911). Whether they date from the very founding of the house or from subsequent additions, the objects at Houghton Hall are the glittering result of generations of connoisseurs.

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. 11, 6 p.m. “The Pictures That Got Away: The Great Old Master Paintings That Sir Robert Walpole’s Grandson Sold to Catherine the Great”
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.