After seeing the Keith Haring show at the De young Museum, it took a moment to adjust to the very different mood of the Legion of Honor's show of work from Houghton Hall, in England, a large house originally built by Sir Robert Walpole, in 1776, generally considered a masterpiece of Palladian architecture. The show includes a large number of paintings from the Houghton Hall collection displayed along with furniture, dinner ware, silver, rugs, and other objects laid out in several large rooms. The walls have been covered from floor to ceiling with photographic reproductions of the original rooms, which give a fairly good sense of how the various object on display would look in context.
Among the most beautiful objects in the entire show are two large rolls of handmade Chinese wallpapers (detail below). It wasn't exactly clear, but these appear to be actual leftovers from papers made for bedrooms in Houghton Hal, papers that presumably still cover the walls in some rooms today. The many birds on the papers are exquisitely drawn. The foliage, rocks, and other background elements are highly stylized, in some places becoming almost entirely abstract, while somehow retaining the power to evoke environments the birds might have been found in. The blue is especially striking. The show was worth seeing just for these wallpapers. The Houghton Hall exhibit runs through January 18, 2015 at the Legion of Honor.