Throwback Thursday: The Huntington

One of my favorite places to visit in Southern California is the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Although my family lived in Southern California when I was younger and we’ve visited many times over the years, I somehow didn’t visit the Huntington until 2012, when I went there to present a paper at a research conference. I was stunned by the collections and the gardens, and I’ve visited several times since then.

The last time I visited the Huntington was in March 2015 (and I’m clearly overdue for return visit!). My mom and I took a quick trip to the LA area to see a special exhibition at the Getty Center, and we spent a lovely day at the Huntington while we were in the area. The Huntington has three main parts: the library, the art collections, and the botanical gardens.

The Library

Huntington Library
The main library exhibition building

The Library collection includes a number of impressive objects: the Gutenberg Bible, an early manuscript of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Shakespeare’s First Folio, Thoreau’s manuscript of Walden, and more. I love exploring the Library exhibitions, both permanent and temporary.

The Art Collections

Huntington - Pinkie by Thomas Lawrence
Sarah Barrett Moulton: Pinkie, Thomas Lawrence, 1794

Surprise! The art collections are my favorite part of the Huntington. The first time I visited, I was honestly floored by the collections. I really love the European collection. One of the biggest stars is Gainsborough’s Blue Boy, but they also have fantastic works by Reynolds, Constable, Turner, Rogier van der Weyden, Houdon, Boucher, Canaletto, Fragonard, and more.

Huntington - JMW Turner
One of my favorite paintings at the Huntington — The Grand Canal: Scene – a Street in Venice, JMW Turner, ca. 1837

While European art is always my favorite, the Huntington has a great American art collection as well. John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt, William Merritt Chase, Gilbert Stuart, John Singleton Copley, Benjamin West, Edward Hopper… The list goes on. They also have some really lovely Greene & Greene furniture.

American Gallery Huntington
The entrance to The Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art

The Botanical Gardens

Rose Gardens Huntington

Gardens aren’t my forte, but the ones at the Huntington are amazing. They have 12 different gardens, representing various garden styles and plants from around the world – Desert, Chinese, Japanese, Rose, Lily Pond, and more. I love taking a walk through the gardens between gallery visits.

Gardens at the Huntington

Have you been to the Huntington? What’s your favorite part?

Written by Caroline Larson.

*All photos in this blog article are taken by and property of Caroline Larson.


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