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European Decorative Arts

European Decorative Arts have always been an essential component of the Legion of Honor. In addition to the collections formed by Alma de Bretteville Spreckels, the Legion founder secured donations of French eighteenth-century furniture, decorative arts, and mounted porcelain from the Collis P. Huntington Collection and Mildred Anna Williams. Mrs. Spreckels also received from the French government gifts of contemporary Sèvres porcelain to reinforce the artistic culture of France.

Ranging in scope from late medieval to modern times, the collection today has expanded to cover many other regions of Europe with highlights such as a Spanish ceiling dating from about 1500, a hard-stone panel from the grand-ducal workshops of Florence of 1600-1650, and a Nymphenburg crucifixion group modeled by Franz Anton Bustelli contained in a house altar from Munich ca. 1760. Notable French decorative arts include Pierre Gole’s spectacular ebony cabinet from ca. 1650, a settee made for Queen Marie-Antoinette, the Coventry secrétaire of 1763 made by B.V.R.B., and three period rooms, including the recently renovated Salon Doré from the Hôtel de La Trémoille, Paris. Highlights of British decorative arts include Horace Walpole’s commode of 1763 from Strawberry Hill, west of London, furniture from St. Giles House, Dorset, and grand silver by Paul Storr. Among the collection’s porcelain masterworks are a magnificent Meissen vase representing early production from the factory of Augustus the Strong, a set of vases from Sèvres of 1768, and the extensive Bowles collection, showcasing the history of English porcelain in the eighteenth century. Twentieth-century standouts are a tea table and silver tea service by Fabergé given by a member of the Russian former imperial family and one of the Legion’s earliest acquisitions.


The Bowles Porcelain Gallery

The Porcelain Gallery has been a much-loved component of the Legion of Honor for many years. A project initiated by the museums founder, Alma de Bretteville Spreckels, it shows an array of porcelain and pottery from England and continental Europe with a strong emphasis on the eighteenth century.The... View More

The Salon Doré at the Legion of Honor

Overview This magnificent salon, a significant feature of the Legion of Honor’s holdings, represents one of the finest examples of French neoclassical interior architecture in a museum. Designed during the reign of Louis XVI, it was originally installed in the Hôtel de la Trémoille on Paris's Rue... View More