Thursday, October 22, 2015

An afternoon at Rienzi: You had me at Porcelain

A view of the back of Rienzi in the Gardens 
Some of my favorite museums around the world are in former private homes; the Rodin Museum in Paris, the Leighton House in London, The Contemporary at Laguna Gloria in Austin, and the Bayou Bend in Houston. Down the street from the Bayou Bend, the Rienzi is the former estate of philanthropists Carroll Sterling Masterson and Harris Masterson III who generously donated the home and grounds to the Museum of Fine Arts of Houston to house it's European decorative arts collection, including paintings, furnishings, sculptures and one of the largest collections of Worcester porcelain in the United States. The variety of color and form of the individual pieces in the collection makes the tour through the Rienzi feel like a treasure hunt.

The grand ballroom of the Rienzi house 

Every Wednesday, Rienzi opens its doors for open drawing sessions from 1:30pm -4:30pm.  I spent the entire afternoon engrossed in drawing one of the porcelain vases in the main Ballroom.

Sketching in the Rienzi

After a tour of the house, take a moment to wander through the Rienzi Gardens. The grounds are 4.4 acres of Texas woodlands and formal gardens including stunning southern magnolias. Also, make sure to include the Rienzi as part of your annual Azalea Trail in March 2016.

Magnolias and hedge gardens leading up to the entrance of the main house 

Finished version of drawing from the Rienzi; color added in my studio 

The Annual "Punch Party" will be hosted by MFAH tomorrow night from 7-9pm at the Rienzi! Try a historic English punch while wearing your pompadours and listening to a string quartet on the terrace!

Keep Exploring!
The Bayou Botanist

Read more about the Rienzi here.

Rienzi Hours: 
Wednesday–Saturday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
Sunday, 1–5 p.m.Visits are by docent-led tour only.

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