The foundation of the Dixon's decorative art holdings is the Warda Stevens Stout Collection of 18th-century German porcelain. Comprised of nearly 600 pieces, this collection includes a remarkable survey of Meissen tableware and figures dating from the early Bottger period through mid-century, a large group of Hochst figures, and selected figures and tableware from numerous porcelain factories. The magazine Art and Antiques named this large and encyclopedic collection one of the top 100 in the United States, for it includes some of the rarest and most unique objects produced by the Chelsea, Derby, Bow, and Worcester manufactories, as well as works from other factories in England.

In 2008, the Dixon Gallery and Gardens received an important group of 18th and 19th-century English porcelain from the Charlotte Stout Hooker Collection. For Mrs. Hooker, a longtime Dixon board member, collecting is not just a pastime, but a passion and a family tradition. Her mother, Warda Stevens Stout, assembled one of the world’s great collections of 18th-century German porcelain, which she bequeathed to the Dixon in 1985. Mrs. Stout passed her love of porcelain on to her daughter Charlotte, along with a small collection that would be the start of an extraordinary body of work in its own right. When combined with her mother’s earlier bequest, Mrs. Hooker’s remarkable contribution to the Dixon has made our porcelain holdings among the most significant in the world. 

In addition, the Dixon has expanded its collection to include outstanding examples of French 18th and 19th-century porcelain and other decorative arts.



On view in the Winegardner Auditorium

Four centuries of pewter from Europe and the United States are represented in the Adler Pewter Collection. In 1991, Dr. Justin Adler and his wife, Herta, generously donated their extensive collection of pewter to the Dixon. More than 300 utilitarian, decorative, and commemorative objects dating from the seventeenth century to the early twentieth century comprise the collection.

The extensive scope of the Adler Pewter Collection is a reminder of the important role pewter has played in daily life for hundreds of years, as the bulk of domestic pewter that survives dates from the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries.  All of the most common domestic objects during this period—from dishes and tankards to measures and candlesticks—were constructed in pewter. Imported from Europe to America in colonial times, pewter enjoyed great popularity in the New World and became the primary utilitarian ware in the colonies.

Pewter forms often mimicked styles found in other media, such as porcelain and silver; however, due to its utilitarian use, pewter was generally only decorated for ecclesiastical use or to serve as a commemorative object. During the Art Nouveau period of the early twentieth century, pewter evolved into a medium for artistic expression with organic shapes and floral motifs that typified the art of that period.


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