On the third Thursday of each month, Rienzi highlights a great work of art in the Rienzi Collection. Gallery Talks are given by museum curators, conservators, educators and librarians.
Heather White, docent program manager at Rienzi, discusses the early 19th-century portrait of Captain Hawker in the Rienzi Collection, as well as two other portraits featuring men in military dress. This gallery talk, examining the image of the soldier as depicted before the arrival of the photograph, offers a counterpoint to the landmark exhibition WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath.
Leslie Scattone, assistant curator for the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation, will discuss a large group portrait by Tilly Kettle, one of the first significant British artists to establish a career in India. Kettle painted in Madras, Calcutta, and Faizabad from 1769 to 1776. This painting from the collection of the Blaffer Foundation, depicts John Fortnum, an architect and officer in the Bengal Army, along with his wife, children and exotic pet bird.
Jon Evans, director of the MFAH Hirsch Library, addresses several 20th-century books in the Rienzi Library that comprise unusual or unique designs, each a clear reflection of its time. Books featured include examples from Art Deco, arts and crafts and fine press traditions. Subjects include Ballads of a Bookworm by Irving Browne (1899) and Ultimo by John and Ruth Vassos (1930).
Jane Gillies, objects and sculpture conservator at the MFAH, discusses La Fée aux fleurs, a work by Mathurin Moreau. This cast-iron sculpture of a winged nymph and cherub was returned to Rienzi's gardens in the summer of 2012 after extensive research and conservation, during which conservators discovered the previously hidden foundry mark on the sculpture.