Rienzi, the MFAH house museum for European decorative arts, presents special exhibitions twice a year.

In Twilight: Mourning Costume and Customs, 1776–1914 explores how people mourned in Europe and America in the 18th and 19th centuries, an era in which the specter of death permeated life. The exhibition offers a look at objects that were used as an outward display of inward emotion.

One way people coped with constant loss was to remember their loved ones through mourning customs and special dress. In Twilight includes an intact late-19th-century American mourning dress and a variety of portrait miniatures depicting subjects in mourning costumes, all recent gifts to the Rienzi Collection.

These objects are accompanied by selections from Rienzi’s extensive collection of mourning jewelry, as well as books of the period advising readers on the correct way to display grief.

At Rienzi, exhibition admission is free. To complete your visit, sign up for a house tour, included with regular admission.

In Twilight: Mourning Costume and Customs, 1776–1914 | September 1, 2019–January 5, 2020



This exhibition is organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.