Bayou Bend, the former home of Houston philanthropist Ima Hogg, now houses the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston's early American decorative arts and painting collection. Considered one of the premier collections in the country, the rare and beautiful objects dating from approximately 1620 to 1876, are installed throughout the 1920s mansion in 28 period room settings.
Will Hogg, who donated land to the City of Houston to create Memorial Park and developed River Oaks, and his siblings Mike and Ima, commissioned architect John F. Staub to build Bayou Bend, a home for the Hoggs. Ima Hogg worked closely with Staub using the term "Latin Colonial" to describe the architectural style of the home. In 1920 Miss Hogg had begun assembling an important collection of American decorative arts. To provide suitable settings for these extraordinary antiques, Staub designed simple but stately interiors. Miss Hogg donated Bayou Bend to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston in 1957, but continued living at the estate until 1965. She oversaw the transformation of her home into a house museum, which opened to the public in 1966.
The Bayou Bend Collection is one of the nation's foremost assemblages of American decorative arts dating from 1620 through 1876 . Not only are the objects in the collection fine examples of American design and craftsmanship, but they also reflect the tastes, values, and aspirations of Colonial-era Americans. The collection reflects Miss Hogg's dream that "Bayou Bend may serve as a bridge to bring us closer to the heart of an American heritage which unites us."
The Murphy Room
The Murphy Room is a wonderful gallery of furnishings from the 17th and 18th centuries that evokes a sense of the colonial past.
The Pine Room
Most of the furnishings of the Pine Room are Early Baroque, but a few of the pieces reflect the Late Baroque style popular in America from 1730-1760.
The Drawing Room
The Drawing Room displays furniture from several of the important urban areas of the Colonies, including Boston, Newport, New York, Philadelphia, and Charleston.
The Dining Room
The development, after the American Revolution, of a separate room for dining also created the need for new kinds of furniture such as the sideboard and the stationary dining table.
The Chillman Suite
The furnishings, in the Grecian-style, illustrate the ancient Greek, Roman and Egyptian designs that were popular in the early 1800s.
The Belter Parlor
The highly ornate Rococo Revival style presented in this room would have been considered the height of fashion in the 1850s.
Bayou Bend Gardens were originally, in Miss Hogg's words, "nothing but a dense thicket." Undaunted, she created several gracious and beautiful gardens. Miss Hogg also appreciated the beauty of the area's natural environment. She retained part of the surrounding woodlands and created a less formal garden environment on the south side of the property.
Clio, the muse of history, also presides over this ornamental garden that was created while the house was being built.
The beauty of native trees and shrubs form a spectacular backdrop to the formal gardens surrounding the house at Bayou Bend.
Miss Hogg created an outdoor "room" defined by walls of evergreen yaupon hedges that separate the garden from the natural woodlands beyond. The Diana Garden is a model of classical simplicity.
Euterpe, the muse of music, represents one of Miss Hogg's greatest loves. The precise location for the statue was chosen because of two superb trees, a loblolly pine and an American sycamore, that predate the house and still stand.
Inspired by an antique carousel seat, this garden was created in a clearing left by Hurricane Carla in 1961.
An example of the integration of house and garden at Bayou Bend, the East Garden extends the east facade of the house into the landscape.
The delightful butterfly garden is set in a forested area of the lot. Miss Hogg first planted it with purple and yellow pansies, but after a few years she replaced those flowers with boxwood borders and a bright palette of dwarf evergreen azaleas.
Quiet and private, the White Garden is surrounded by ravines, and features an array of white blooming plants.
Lora Jean Kilroy Visitor and Education Center
Set on the corner of Westcott and Memorial Drive, just a stone's throw from Memorial Park, is the two-story Bayou Bend Visitor Center, which opened in late September 2010. Designed by Houston architect Leslie Elkins, the contemporary, 18,000-square-foot building includes exhibits, orientation videos, a library, retail shop, meeting space and public terraces.
Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau - Member