Also new this winter is an exquisite exhibition that explores the story of Madame de Pompadour, the influential mistress of King Louis XV of France, best remembered as an enthusiastic patron of the arts. Less well known are the works of art she made and collected. On view here for the first time are selections from the Suite of Prints, an extremely rare first-edition set of etchings created by the royal mistress in the 1750s and purchased by Museum founder Henry Walters from a Parisian book dealer in 1895. Fewer than 20 of these suites were made overall and the Walters has the only full remaining copy, which was also Madame de Pompadour’s personal copy. The exhibition also includes engraved gems, and a few of the most stunning possessions she collected including a woven tapestry and two pairs of Sevres porcelain vases. The approximately 30 works in the exhibition in the museum’s Manuscripts Gallery are all from the Walters collection.
This exhibition is generously supported by members and contributors to the annual fund.