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Holidays at Miller House

The holiday season is now upon us, and festive décor is almost everywhere. The IMA’s Miller House is no exception. This will be the first holiday season that the Miller House and Garden has been open to the public, and while the home is not decorated to the extent of Oldfields, the IMA’s other historic property, visitors can still expect to see a few special holiday touches throughout the interior.

Holiday ornamentation at the Miller House will be minimal this year, partly due to the greatly reduced winter tour schedule, but also because the Miller House team is still inventorying the objects in the house and developing the program for collections rotation.

Nevertheless, visitors who have an affinity for Italian glass or crèche scenes will be pleased. Some of the pieces that were chosen to be on display at the Miller House this holiday season include two nativity scenes from Mrs. Miller’s extensive collection from around the world, and several small Murano glass Christmas trees.

An early 19th-century Ecuadorian crèche scene, displayed on the storage wall in a lighted enclosure designed by Alexander Girard, the talent behind the interior design of the home.

A Greek pottery crèche scene on the baker’s table in the main living area.

Several Murano glass Christmas trees in the living room and conversation pit.

A small enameled copper dish was discovered when conducting an inventory of the Miller House barn this past fall.

With the change of the seasons, we also decided to change some other elements of the interior that will remain on display well after the holidays are over.

Visitors can now see a new setting on the dining room table, which includes Alexander Girard’s “Carolus Magnus” dinner plates designed for Georg Jensen (adaptations are available for purchase at the IMA’s Museum Store), a set of colorful Venini drinking glasses designed by Gio Ponti, and Steuben glass candlesticks designed by Don Pollard. I particularly love how the playful designs on the plates complement the design on the rug!

Another newly displayed object  is a white Marco vase, designed by Sergio Asti for Salviati, which nicely accents the children’s play room.

In Mr. Miller’s handsome mid-century office, three Venini vases demonstrate the “incalmo” technique of glassmaking. Incalmo means graft, and is used in glassmaking to describe the seamless fusing together of two different pieces of glass by an expert glassmaker.

A tri-colored “doppio incalmo” tapering vase, designed by Fulvio Bianconi, around 1960.

Two mauve incalmo vases, designed by Ludovico Diaz de Santillana around 1968.

As we continue to inventory objects in the collection, we hope to discover more pieces to display in future holiday seasons. (We are still looking for the perfect pink aluminum Christmas tree!)  What is your favorite item of holiday decoration?

Be sure to visit the Miller House soon to see these beautiful pieces on display!

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