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A Collector's Journey

 peacock  Geisha 

First Gallery
The first gallery provides a dramatic introduction to the Asian art collection. Its center platform contains ornate jade and ivory sculptures, some of which are as are as large as 4 feet tall. Contrasting Chinese paintings hang on opposing walls — on one wall is a framed landscape painting on silk, made in the mid-seventeenth century. On the opposite wall is a set of six large scrolls executed in 2002 by contemporary Chinese artist, Wan Qingli.

Second and Third Galleries
The second and third galleries continue the journey theme and present objects of particular value to Mrs. Phillips because of their uniqueness, age, material, or provenance. These galleries reveal the preferences and temperament of the collector, for in spite of their differences, they are connected by Mrs. Phillips' affinity for a human focus. Many of the objects depict people; they include portrayals of ordinary people and scenes of daily life as well as emperors and legendary figures.

 Scholars Desk

The third gallery features a special exhibit of objects relating to the world of the Chinese scholar, or mandarin. Scholars endured a rigorous educational process in order to achieve their status as "cultivated gentlemen" as well as representatives of the emperor. Part public official, part educator, part guardian of morals and ethics, a mandarin strived for the highest level of refinement in the arts of painting, calligraphy, and poetry. The Maridon display includes a number of scrolls fronted by a scholar's table covered with all the implements that the scholar used for his artistic pursuits — ancient, decorated ink blocks; ink stones; scroll boxes; brush pots; flywhisk; a contemplative rock; and even a scholar's chair.


Fourth Gallery
The Meissen Gallery, the fourth gallery in the Maridon Museum, houses Mrs. Phillips' extensive collection of Meissen porcelain. Started in 1713, the Meissen factory began producing the figural objects that have enticed collectors like Mrs. Phillips ever since. In addition to those qualities inherent to Meissen — its luminous colors and delicate molding — the company's use of the same molds over decades, or even centuries, of time attracts collectors who seek individual pieces of a particular set or vignette. Mrs. Phillips' collection at the Maridon, for example, includes almost all the objects in groupings such as The Monkey Band, The Paris Criers, The Arts, The Senses, and
The Satyrs.

Meissen collectors will appreciate the extent of Ms. Phillips' collection, but even casual visitors will enjoy the artistry and vibrancy of these pieces as well as the wit, whimsy, and sentiment they portray. Mrs. Phillips' collection contains portrayals of both notable and ordinary people, animals, caricatures, humorous incidents, and dramatic scenes. One does not need to be a connoisseur of fine porcelain to enjoy their subject matter or appreciate their exquisite figural detail.

The Maridon Museum has a new exhibition in its Meissen Gallery. The exhibition, which opened on October 22nd , is entitled A Collector’s Passion. It presents over one hundred eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Meissen porcelain figures and figural groupings from the notable Mary Hulton Phillips collection. Most of the objects will be on public display for the first time.

The exhibition should be interesting to Meissen collectors and antique dealers, but anyone can appreciate the detailing and artistry of this fine porcelain, particularly the unusual – and frequently whimsical – figures and vignettes that are featured in this exhibit.

Meissen was the first porcelain to be produced in the western world; production began in 1710 under the aegis of August the Strong and continues to the present day. The Maridon exhibition contains a piece belonging to August the Strong as well as one piece that pre-dates the establishment of the factory itself. Several other pieces from the early seventeenth century also are on display. Two examples of the famous Swan pattern dinner service, which was created in 1736 and included over 2,000 pieces, are on display.

In the eighteenth century Meissen was known for detailed and brilliantly colored figural pieces that exemplified the baroque and rococo styles of the period. The exhibition features about one hundred of these figural pieces, including characters from Italian comedy, allegorical scenes, art nouveau pieces, and large comical vignettes depicting the foibles of eighteenth century society. Thirteen pieces from Meissen’s famous “Monkey Band”, a mid-eighteenth century satirical work are on display.

In addition to the display, a 45-minute video presentation and free docent tours are available. Reservations are required for group tours, and are suggested for docent tours and the video presentation. The museum telephone number is 724.282.0123.



322 North McKean St., Butler, PA 16001    |    phone: 724.282.0123    |    fax: 724.282.0567    |    email: