Yesterday I went with a group of people from my church to visit Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens in Washington, DC. It's located in an upscale neighborhood near the National Zoo in Upper Northwest. Despite the fact that I have visited many museums and even several private homes with tremendous art collections in Washington, I had somehow missed Hillwood.
Hillwood was the home of Marjorie Merriweather Post, the heiress of the Post Cereal fortune. Ever heard of Grape-Nuts? Yeah, that Post. She served on the board of the company for many years after her father died when she was 27 years old and she was a noted philanthropist, giving away as much money each year as she spent.
In 1953, she bought Hillwood and went about turning it into a proper setting for her vast collection of 18th and 19th century French and Russian antiques and art. It was impossible to discuss every object we saw in the hour-long tour we took, but some outstanding objects are in the collection, including amazing portrait of Catherine the Great, two Faberge eggs and many exceedingly high quality pieces of French furniture and porcelain.
I highly recommend you visit when you're in the area. In case you're not convinced, here is some eye candy to entice you!
I had a terrible time narrowing down all the photos I took so here's an online album with the ones that wouldn't fit into this post. Seriously, go see Hillwood for yourself. It's well worth the trip.