Image Caption: 1957.0945, small-format transparency, Photo by Gavin Ashworth

“This pier table greets visitors with its lanky legs, hairy-paw feet, and a powerful stance that seems to say, ‘Look at me!’ How could you not peek inside and discover its treasures?” says Alexandra Deutsch, John L. and Marjorie P. McGraw Director of Collections. Featured in Winterthur’s exhibition Outside In: Nature-inspired Design at Winterthur, which opens May 1, the table embodies H.F. Du Pont’s passion for nature and design. 

Its mirrored lid reflects its shell-filled interior. Whether the collection belonged to H. F. or an earlier collector, we do not know, but we do know that H. F. Du Pont was a passionate shell collector.  

As a boy, he gathered his earliest collections from the woods and gardens of Winterthur. As an adult, his love of nature-inspired forms shaped his aesthetic. He combined his love of objects and nature in the rooms of Winterthur, where the outside and the inside blend into a masterwork of interior design. 

Pier table or collector’s cabinet 

Henry Connelly and William Rush 

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; 1806-20 

Mahogany, mahogany veneer, satinwood veneer, tulip poplar, white pine, ebony, rosewood, brass, glass 

Bequest of Henry Francis du Pont 1957.0945 

Photo by Gavin Ashworth