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

Dr. Rebecca Tilles, Guest Lecturer

Please note Pacific Standard Time

Free for ICAA Members
$20 General Public

Registration will close 1 hour prior to webinar.

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.

Dr. Rebecca Tilles is Curator of 18th Century Western European Art at Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens in Washington, DC. At Hillwood, she curated the exhibition Perfume & Seduction (2019), an exhibition of outdoor garden sculpture by the artist Kristine Mays entitled Rich Soil (June 26, 2021-January 9, 2022), and The Luxury of Clay: Porcelain Past and Present (February 16-June 26, 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., as well as a display connected to Hillwood’s Riesener furniture. Rebecca completed her PhD in Art History from the University of Sussex (2019).

Image: Roll-top desk, Neuwied, Germany, 1770-1774, Abraham and David Roentgen. Oak, cherry, and other woods, veneered with tulipwood, rosewood, maple, mother of pearl, gilt bronze. Bequest of Marjorie Merriweather Post, 1973 (33.222)

This program will be presented on Zoom. The link will be sent 24 hours prior to the event.

This program is made possible by the generous support from:

Leadership Circle
Tim Barber Architects
Landry Design Group

American College of the Building Arts
Reside Custom Homes
Susan Masterman Architects

Boswell Construction, Inc.
Crestron Electronics
Ric & Suzanne Kayne & Jenni Kayne & Richard Ehrlich
Shawn Nelson Builders


May 11 @ 5:00 pm
5:00 pm — 6:00 pm (1h)