Winterthur Collects What?: A Bird’s-Eye View

 On view in the first-floor Galleries


Featuring some of the surprising and quirky bird-related objects in the Winterthur collection, A Bird’s-Eye View reveals what the depiction of one animal can teach us about the food traditions, adornment, entertainment, and patriotism of the past.

Birds are captivating creatures. For centuries, people have marveled at their ability to fly, their unique form and feathers, their curious mannerisms, and their distinctive songs. They provide us with food, feathers, and companionship. We respond to birds in art for their whimsy as well as their beauty, and they have been used to symbolize national pride and personal playfulness.

Because of Winterthur’s unique nature, birds have a special place here. Across the estate you will encounter bluebirds nesting in boxes, ducks and geese swimming in the ponds, and the occasional hawk hunting. Henry Francis du Pont used bird-related objects to tie his historic interiors to the naturalistic landscape of the estate. Birds inhabit both of these environments and provide a visual bridge between the indoor room settings and the garden outside.


Objects Pictured

Birds in a cage, made by Ann Flower, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; 1753–60. Watercolor and ink on laid paper. Joseph Downs Collection of Manuscripts and Printed Ephemera, Winterthur Library Doc. 1244.

Turkey, United States; 1830–65. Glass. Bequest of Henry Francis du Pont 1959.3338.

Huntsman with dog and birds, made in Staffordshire, England; 1815–25. Earthenware (pearlware) with lead glaze. Gift of Thomas N. and A. Pat Bernard 2002.30.65. 


Located on the first floor of the Galleries. All exhibitions are included with admission and are free to Winterthur Members.

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