Blue Room

The Blue Room is a gallery brimming with objects that reflect Gardner’s personal relationships. In the early days of the Museum the Blue Room welcomed concert goers, serving as the ladies’ reception area. It displays the work of artists in Gardner’s closest circle of friends. With its low ceilings, fabric covered walls, and well-lit alcoves showcasing paintings, furniture, books, and cases, the Blue Room invites visitors to explore the collection at close range and in an intimate space.

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In fall 1995, the elaborate silk wall coverings in the Blue Room were restored to their historic appearance. The gallery’s walls were covered in five different 18th-century silk fabrics (a moiré stripe, two damasks, and two brocattlles), all in shades of blue. The original fabrics were purchased by Isabella Gardner in Europe and assembled by her in a single installation. This layering effect reflected Gardner’s often-eclectic aesthetic and contributed to the room’s original elegance and intimacy. In the 1950s, the original fabrics were replaced with a single fabric (a reproduction of the moiré stripe) due to wear and tear. To recreate the original look, conservators relied on remnants of the original fabrics from the Museum’s archives or found under the 1950s fabric and, in partnership with Scalamandre of New York and the Humphries Weaving Company, Ltd., worked to recreate and reinstall all five patterns. The reinstallation of these fabrics in Gardner’s original pattern returns the gallery closer to its original appearance and Gardner’s original intent.