May 26, 2021

Highlights from Hillwood: Marjorie Merriweather Post’s Taste for 18th-Century European Furniture

May 26th, 2021 from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM



Rebecca Tilles, Associate Curator of 18th Century French & Western European Fine and Decorative Arts of Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens will present a Zoom Lecture on May 26, 2021.

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.