French Silver and Gilt Bronzes

In 1991, the Eugenia Woodward Hitt Collection of eighteenth-century French art – a major assembly of more than 500 works – came to the Museum. In addition to paintings and works on paper, the collection includes fine gilt bronzes and a select group of silver objects. French silver from the period is rare, as it was often melted down as currency to finance wars, but gilt bronze objects, with little melt value, have survived in great numbers. Adding to the opulence of an interior, gilt-bronze sconces, firedogs, and clocks reflected the changing styles of the period and the status of their owners.