Winterthur is a country estate nestled in the rolling hills of the Brandywine River valley of northern Delaware on the east coast of the United States. It was the home of Henry Francis du Pont (1880-1969). Today the estate’s 1,000 acres encompass a mansion of 175 rooms filled with 85,000 objects that were made and used in America between 1640 and 1860, a beautiful garden of more than 60 acres, and a research center for the study of American decorative arts and antiques.
Michael John Hunt is a licensee of the Winterthur Museum and the collection of paintings shown here is work in progress. This area of our website will be regularly updated until the collection is complete.
How The Collection Came About
The Hunt Gallery is a family business established in 1972 in the medieval Cinque Port of Sandwich, Kent, England. During the 1990s the gallery began to exhibit paintings of interior scenes at fine art fairs in both England and the United States of America. As a result of one of these exhibitions, Michael received an invitation to visit Winterthur. As he walked through the period rooms at the museum, he immediately felt a great empathy for the ethos of its founder, Henry Francis du Pont. He also felt the challenge to capture the spirit of the settings in his own medium. But a problem arose ~ what choices could be made? There was so much that was visually and aesthetically irresistible that nothing could be overlooked. So he resolved to paint each and every room, for how could he choose which ones to paint and which ones to leave out! Henry Francis du Pont had assembled the richest collection of American decorative arts and hand-crafted furniture between 1640-1860 in such a sensitive and considered manner that Michael wanted to do it justice. The project began in 1996 and is still in progress. None of the original paintings have been sold in order to maintain the integrity of the collection. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity and privilege to be able to accomplish such a task, and it is important to Michael that the original paintings remain together as an entity. Michael is also greatly appreciative of the Winterthur staff for their courteous and patient assistance.
With the advances in fine art print technology, The Hunt Gallery has decided to publish the paintings in limited editions of fine art prints which are illustrated on this website.
As an authorized licensee of Winterthur, we are delighted that proceeds from sales of all licensed products, including our prints, go to support the educational program of a great American country estate.
Henry Francis du Pont and Winterthur, His American Country Estate
Winterthur is a country estate comparable to great English country houses. It is nestled in the rolling hills of the Brandywine River valley of northern Delaware on the East Coast of the United States. Henry Francis du Pont (1880-1969) was the great-grandson of Eleuthère Irénée du Pont de Nemours (1771-1834), who arrived in America in 1800 to establish a gunpowder company. The firm evolved into the corporation known today as DuPont. In 1837 James Antoine Bidermann married E.I. du Pont’s daughter, Evelina, and they named their residence Winterthur after Bidermann’s ancestral home in Switzerland. Evelina’s nephew, Colonel Henry Algernon du Pont, became the next owner of Winterthur, and his son, Henry Francis du Pont, was the third generation of that branch of the family to nurture and care for the estate.
In 1916, H.F. du Pont married Ruth Wales of Hyde Park, New York. They maintained an apartment on Park Avenue in New York City for many years, but their first house was Chestertown in Southampton, Long Island, New York. There du Pont installed interior architecture to create settings for his collection of American antiques. After he inherited Winterthur in 1927, his vision took shape as he installed period architecture as backdrops for his growing collection of antiques, designed garden areas, developed one of the most famous Holstein herds in America, and established a library and a center for learning connected with the University of Delaware. Winterthur was opened to the public in 1951.
Today the estate’s 1,000 acres encompass a mansion of 175 rooms filled with 85,000 objects that were made and used in America between 1640 and 1860, a beautiful garden of more than 60 acres shaded by majestic trees, a research center for the study of American decorative arts and antiques, and meadows and woodlands that buffer against the modern world.
H.F. du Pont is considered one of the most prominent antiques collectors and interior decorators in America. His attention to detail and his ability to move ahead on multiple projects simultaneously was awesome. Today Winterthur continues the tradition of excellence he exemplified and is an enduring testament to his vision.
Please visit www.winterthur.org