Online Lecture | Rebecca Tilles, Highlights from Hillwood

Posted in lectures (to attend), online learning by Editor on February 21, 2021

Abraham and David Roentgen, Roll-top desk, Germany (Neuwied), 1770–74; oak, cherry, and other woods, veneered with tulipwood, rosewood, maple, mother of pearl, gilt bronze (Washington, DC: Hillwood, Bequest of Marjorie Merriweather Post, 1973, 33.222).

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From The Furniture History Society:

Rebecca Tilles, Highlights from Hillwood: Marjorie Merriweather Post’s Taste for 18th-Century European Furniture
The Furniture History Society Online Lecture, Sunday, 21 February 2021, 19.00 (GMT)

Marjorie Merriweather Post (1887–1973) was one of the most influential female collectors, philanthropists, and businesswomen of the twentieth century. Born in Springfield, Illinois to a middle-class family, she inherited the helm of the Postum Cereal Company, eventually becoming the director of General Foods, from her father at the age of 27, making her one of the wealthiest women in America. She designed and decorated a multitude of impressive residences, notably a sprawling 54-room triplex apartment on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan (1925), the Mar-A-Lago estate in Palm Beach (1927), Adirondack Great Camp Topridge, New York (1923), and finally Hillwood, Washington, DC (1955).

This lecture will explore Post’s interest in collecting 18th-century European furniture, highlights from Hillwood’s collection (as well as a few that got away), and the dealers she bought from— spanning from the mid-1920s until the late 1960s, during which time Post acquired, renovated, and furnished Hillwood estate with the intention of bequeathing the house and collection to the public following her death. The lecture will also feature future research projects, new acquisitions, and upcoming exhibitions. This event is free for FHS members, £5 for non-members; to pay for this event online please follow this link.

Rebecca Tilles is Associate Curator of 18th-Century French & Western European Fine & Decorative Arts at Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens in Washington, DC. She is currently organizing an exhibition of outdoor garden sculpture by the artist Kristine Mays entitled Rich Soil (June 2021–January 2022), as well as an exhibition on the evolution of porcelain in Western Europe and Marjorie Merriweather Post’s interest in diplomatic gifts and international commissions between Western European and Russian factories (February–June 2022). Rebecca is also organizing a spotlight exhibition entitled “Marjorie Merriweather Post and the Diplomacy of Philanthropy,” in partnership with the State Department, at the National Museum of American Diplomacy in Washington, D.C. (2022). Rebecca completed her PhD in Art History from the University of Sussex where her dissertation was entitled “George and Florence Blumenthal: A Collecting Partnership in the Gilded Age, 1858–1941.” She recently published “The Artistic Patronage and Transatlantic Connections of Florence Blumenthal” in the most recent issue of 19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century and is currently working on a new publication on Marjorie Merriweather Post’s collection and residences with Hillwood’s curatorial team that will be published by Rizzoli in 2022.


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