Yesterday's outing was to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, an absolutely exquisite building housing an amazing art collection. The home was built to evoke a 15th century Venetian palace.
Isabella Stewart (1840 - 1924) was born in New York and married Bostonian John Lowell Gardner, Jr. in 1860. Their wide travels inspired a passion for art that became a passion for collecting in 1891 when Isabella's father left her his fortune. Isabella and her husband gathered over 2500 objects of art. They initially amassed their collection to decorate their home. The collection includes paintings, sculpture, furniture, textiles, drawings, ceramics, photographs........the list goes on. The collection is from Rome, Medieval Europe, Renaissance Italy, the Islamic world, and 19th century France and America.
"Years ago I decided that the greatest need in our Country was Art… We were a very young country and had very few opportunities of seeing beautiful things, works of art… So, I determined to make it my life's work if I could." - Isabella Stewart Gardner, on the creation of her Museum, 1917
I so wish I had been able to take photographs of the collection. This was one of my favorite rooms. The walls are entirely adorned with Spanish gilded and painted leather panels.
The house is built around a courtyard with beautiful flower beds and seasonal plantings. It is covered with glass above the four story building, so one has the feeling of being in a huge greenhouse.
Beautiful decorative arts are scattered throughout the museum - I loved these chairs. There were 4 of them, each with different details.
For more information (and much better pictures) visit the website for the museum here.
All photos and information courtesy of the museum website and guest brochure.