M.S. Rau Antiques Donates Henry Clay Rosedown Plantation Armoire to Louisiana State Museum

May 20, 2015, 22:26 ET from M.S. Rau Antiques

LOS ANGELES, May 20, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- New Orleans based M.S. Rau Antiques has donated the Henry Clay Rosedown Plantation Armoire to the Louisiana State Museum.

The unveiling of the armoire will be Thursday May 21, at 1:30 p.m., on the third floor of the Cabildo, on Jackson Square, in New Orleans. Speakers at the unveiling will include Lieutenant Governor Jay Dardenne, owner of M.S. Rau Antiques Bill Rau, and Mark Tullos, Director of the Louisiana State Museum.

The Henry Clay Rosedown Plantation Armoire is an extremely rare and monumental Gothic Revival Rosewood "winged" armoire originally made by Crawford Riddell of Philadelphia for the White House (for the bedroom now known as the Lincoln Bedroom).

Crafted of the finest Brazilian rosewood (a species that is now extinct), the armoire is flanked by two gothic columns that open on the sides to hold clothes, hence the reference to a "winged" wardrobe. The center doors open to reveal more storage and an interior chest of drawers. Each section retains its original blue paint on the interior and the drawers are beautifully finished in Brazilian rosewood on the interior. The armoire is in excellent mint condition.

"The Henry Clay Armoire is probably one of the most important pieces of 19th century furniture in America," said Mark Tullos, Director of the Louisiana State Museum. "We are grateful to Bill Rau and M.S. Rau Antiques for this very generous contribution and for helping to preserve this magnificent piece for future generations."

The piece was commissioned by the supporters of Henry Clay during his bid for the Presidency in 1844. Though he fully expected to win the highly contested race, Clay lost the election to Democratic candidate James K. Polk.

After Clay barely lost his bid for the presidency, the prized bedroom suite was sold by Clay's supporters to Daniel Turnbull, the most affluent cotton planter in the South and reportedly one of the wealthiest men in America. Turnbull kept the bedroom suite at his renowned showpiece home, Rosedown Plantation in St. Francisville, Louisiana.

The entire set, including the armoire, was moved into Turnbull's bedroom in 1845 where it remained until 2000.

"We acquired this piece from the former owner shortly after the State of Louisiana purchased the Rosedown Plantation in 2000 and then sold it to a client," said Bill Rau, owner of M.S. Rau Antiques. "We are thrilled to have re-acquired this piece and have the opportunity to donate a piece with such historical value to such an important museum."

Bill Rau is President, CEO and third-generation owner of M.S. Rau Antiques, one of the largest fine art and antiques galleries in the world, located in the historic French Quarter of New Orleans. A well-respected authority in his field, Rau has placed numerous paintings and objects in museums around the world.

His major written work, "From Barbizon to La Belle Époque: Nineteenth Century European Painting" is a fresh guide to nineteenth-century European painting. Heralded as the quintessential resource of 19th-Century European Painting by Kirkus Reviews, the book offers a comprehensive overview of the century's artistic innovation through a collection of independent essays and an impressive array of illustrations and artist biographies. Rau has written numerous articles published in a variety of antique journals, lectured around the world at museums and events, and was the youngest senior member ever accepted to the American Society of Appraisers.

A great supporter of the local arts community, Rau also serves as the Founder and Executive Director of the Rau for Art Foundation, whose mission is to encourage arts appreciation and education in Greater New Orleans schools by assisting young artists to reach their academic and professional goals in the arts.

For over 100 years M.S. Rau Antiques has been a French Quarter landmark and has remained in the family since 1912. Its 30,000 sq. ft. showroom overflows with remarkable collections of fine art, exquisite jewelry and rare 18th and 19th century antiques. Over 10,000 sq. ft of gallery space is dedicated to the presentation of M.S. Rau's collection of fine art.

Kendal Hurley
Account Director
Ballantines PR

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SOURCE M.S. Rau Antiques