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Decorative Arts

Decorative arts have been collected by the Museum from the institution’s founding in 1933. The collection grew in scope and quality through the generous donations of Walter P. and Jean Outland Chrysler, in the 1970s and 80s.  As a young man, Walter P. Chrysler, Jr. collected outstanding 18th-century English furniture and silver for personal use.

In middle age, as his taste shifted, he and his wife Jean Outland Chrysler assembled an extraordinary collection of Art Nouveau furniture and other decorative arts which they first used to furnish their Provincetown, Massachusetts, residence and later their Norfolk home.

Prior to Mr. Chrysler’s arrival the Norfolk Museum of Arts and Sciences had received several important examples of Southern furniture as gifts, and the Chrysler also houses a substantial collection of 18th-century Worchester porcelain that is on long term loan from the City of Norfolk. This porcelain was given and bequeathed to the City of Norfolk by the late Mr. and Mrs. Henry Clay Hofheimer II.   The Museum today possesses splendid holdings in these areas, including outstanding examples of furniture, bronze sculpture, silver, and ceramics.

Music Cabinet

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Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, designer (English, 1836–1912)
Johnstone, Norman & Co., manufacturer
Music Cabinet, 1884–85
Ebony, box-and rosewood, cedar, ivory, mother-of-pearl, abalone shell, marble and brass
84.101

This extraordinary cabinet was designed by the famous English painter, Lawrence Alma-Tadema for the music room of Henry G. Marquand's New York City residence. Marquand (1819–1902) was a railroad magnate and founder of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He commissioned architect Richard Morris Hunt (1827–1895) to design the house, which was lavishly decorated in a range of historical styles to complement Marquand's vast and eclectic collection of art. The mansion's rooms included a Moorish smoking room, a Japanese chamber, and the Greek revival music parlor.