Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
With Spring in full blossom in southern California, there is no better time to find artistic rejuvenation in The Huntington’s collections. Situated on 207 acres of the original San Marino Ranch, the gardens and collections occupy the original home and estate buildings of Henry and Arabella Huntington as well as major galleries added over the past 90 years. Considered the finest horticultural examples in the Los Angeles region, the Huntington botanical garden highlights are the Chinese, Japanese, Rose, Desert, and Shakespeare Gardens. Together, they provide an ever-changing context of timeless beauty for the art, architectural and literary collections comprising The Huntington experience.
The library is one of the world’s great independent research libraries, with concentrations in British and American history, literature, art, and science dating from the 11th century. Permanent displays in the Exhibition Hall include a Gutenberg Bible—one of eleven surviving copies on vellum—the Ellesmere edition (c.1400-1405) of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales; a first edition of Shakespeare’s 1623 folio, alongside themed, temporary exhibits.
The collection of British portraits of the 18th and early 19th centuries—in particular, the Grand Manner portraits of the Thornton Gallery—is considered one of the greatest in the world. Including Gainsborough’s Blue Boy, Lawrence’s Pinkie, and Reynolds’ Sarah Siddons as the Tragic Muse, these 14 of the finest examples of the best works by England’s most prestigious painters anchor the wider collection of European art influenced by Arabella Huntington, one of the most important collectors of her generation.
American Art dating to 1690 is displayed in the expanded Virginia Steele Scott Galleries and includes such important works as Mary Cassatt’s Breakfast in Bed, Church’s Chimborazo, and Hopper’s The Long Leg. The iconic designs of Arts and Crafts masters Greene & Greene and more recent acquisitions such as Irises (The Sentinels) by Lundeberg, Burlesque by Avery and the Harlem Renaissance sculpture Head of a Boy by Johnson fill gaps in the collection, and reflect the Huntington’s commitment to its expansion.
Timeless, yet ever-changing, the Huntington’s collections serve up a feast for the senses and intellect linked by a passion for education, history and beauty that mark the Collector’s Journey.