The Hooker Collection is ready for its close up.

In 2008, the Dixon received 384 pieces of eighteenth and nineteenth century British porcelain and pottery, and Asian and Continental ceramics from the collection of Mrs. Charlotte Stout Hooker. Mrs. Hooker’s collection was a natural fit for the Dixon—the nascence of her English porcelain came from her mother, Warda Stevens Stout, whose collection of eighteenth century German porcelain came to the Dixon in 1985. Mrs. Hooker continued to collect, adding a more popular dimension to her collection. In 2003, Art & Antiques Magazine named her one of the top 100 collectors in the country.   

Now, it is time to put the spotlight on the Hooker Collection! As we did with the Stout Collection, we are publishing a catalogue of the Hooker collection, The Charlotte Stout Hooker Gift of English and Continental Ceramics. The catalogue celebrates Mrs. Hooker’s achievements as a collector and provides the public with a record of the works in collection.   

The release of the catalogue will coincide with an exhibition of the Hooker Collection, Everyday English: The Charlotte Stout Hooker Gift of English and Continental Ceramics this summer. In the meantime, the authors and book designers have been hard at work preparing a book that is both beautiful and interesting to anyone who reads it. But before any of that work even began, we had to photograph every single work in the collection. Ceramic, by its very nature, is not an easy subject to photograph. It does not “love the camera!” The shiny glaze coating the majority of ceramic pieces causes unwanted reflections. The pattern and decoration on flat wares, like saucers, must be visible. It took a lot of plastic stands and even more museum wax to make the saucer in these photographs look as it if were magically standing on end. Yet, they still need to look real, tangible. Teacups and saucers are functional objects, after all. This required artful arranging and a very patient photographer. Here is a little behind the scenes look from the photo shoot. Be on the lookout for these images in The Charlotte Stout Hooker Gift of English and Continental Ceramics catalogue this summer!   

“Photo styling” a cup and saucer 

the resulting image                 

Bristol, Double-Ogee Cup and Saucer, ca. 1775; Hard-paste porcelain; Collection of the Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Gift of Mrs. Charlotte Stout Hooker, 2008.DA.2.31.2a, b

- Laura Gray McCann, Curatorial Research Assistant

Posted by Chantal Drake at 10:48 AM
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