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Holiday Thorne Rooms

November 22, 2013–January 8, 2014
Gallery 11

The beloved decorating tradition is back—and more festive than ever—with 11 rooms dressed in holiday finery! This year, the 1930s French Library joins the celebration with a tiny taste of Art Deco holiday glamour. Plus, a new long-term loan, a miniature replica of the breakfast room of Frank Lloyd Wright’s William Martin House in Oak Park, will be unveiled for the first time.

Ten other rooms continue the beloved decorating tradition. Among the most elaborate is the English Drawing Room of the Victorian Period, the only room with a Christmas tree. Now a ubiquitous feature of the season, the Christmas tree or tannenbaum, was only brought to England from Germany in 1840 with the marriage of Prince Albert to Queen Victoria. The Thorne Room tree and accoutrements are based on a famous engraving of the royal couple and their children surrounding a trimmed and toy-bedecked tree, an image that would forever popularize this holiday fixture. Other ornamented rooms include the English Great Hall of the Tudor period with a wassailing bowl, yule log, and an essential part of the costuming for that period’s singing-dancing revelers—a mummer’s mask; the Virginia Entrance Hall with mistletoe, wreath, and garland; the French Provincial Bedroom with shoes, or sabots, lined up before the fireplace, a crèche, and puzzle; the modern-era California Hallway with an Otto Natzler mid-century menorah and box with a dreidel; the traditional Chinese interior set to ring in the Chinese New Year; and the New Orleans, New Mexico, the Pennsylvania Dutch (German) rooms filled with regional treats of the season.