Hillwood Museum and Gardens
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The Life of an Heiress
Marjorie Merriweather Post was a wealthy American socialite and heiress to the Post cereal fortune. Her Washington home is a now a museum, and the home’s original furnishings have been maintained alongside all the now-priceless collectibles that Marjorie amassed during her lifetime. If you’re curious how a wealthy heiress lived in the early part of the 20th century, then come to Marjorie’s house, Hillwood. Thanks to a curator friend who trained her eye to identify pieces worthy of collecting, Marjorie managed to fill Hillwood with museum-quality pieces of furniture, works of art, Russian icons, rugs, and tapestries as well as fine porcelains, glassware, and jade carvings. The collection also includes two rare, diamond-studded Fabergé eggs. Every inch of wall is decorated, and luxurious fabrics drape the windows. Some visitors might find it all a bit too ostentatious; others will think it simply exquisite. To say that Marjorie was an obsessive collector is an understatement, and the best way to take it all in is to go on the Mansion Tour. The gardens are as well dressed as the interior of the house. There are several interconnected garden “rooms” and each is of a different style—French Parterre, Rose Garden. On nice days, you’ll see people picnicking on the grounds. Metro stop: Van Ness
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Orlov Service
Hillwood Museum, in Washington, DC houses the finest collection of Russian Decorative Arts outside of Russia. Faberge eggs are the centerpiece, but this china service is my favorite. Commissioned by Catherine the Great for her lover and possible husband, Grigory Orlov, little is left to the imagination as to her intentions. Don't miss this wonderful house museum on your next visit to Washington.
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Marie Antoinette's Dressing Chair
The Hillwood Museum and Gardens are truly one of the hidden treasures of Washington, DC. Collectively, it's a world class collection of art and decorative arts from 18th century France and Imperial Russia. This chair tells a turbulent history. It was made for Marie Antoinette, and can swivel so that her hairdresser could create her outrageous hairstyles. The chair has marks on the bottom, noting it is from the Queen's collection, and then from the sale of it after the revolution that beheaded her. So much history in one single chair.
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