The Delchamps Gallery of Boehm Porcelain
The 1939 Guest House with its six car garage beneath was built to accommodate the growing number of house guests invited to the Gardens by Walter and Bessie Bellingrath. A small chapel was included in its design as well.
In 1967 the open garages were enclosed and refitted to become the Delchamps Gallery of Boehm Porcelain thanks to the generosity of Oliver and Alfred Delchamps and their sister, Annie Delchamps Moore. Their donation of rare and early porcelain sculptures by Edward Marshall Boehm has become the largest display of its kind in the United States.
Edward Boehm started his porcelain artistry in 1949 after a career as a farm manager and veterinarian’s assistant. His deep love and understanding of animals of all kinds was translated into priceless porcelain sculptures featuring incredible detail and color. In less that a decade the Eisenhower administration had taken note of its unique American artwork and began a longstanding tradition of sending pieces of Boehm porcelain as official gifts to overseas dignitaries. Within a short time his work was being admired from Peking to Buckingham Palace.
During his lifetime Boehm was honored by commissions from five American Presidents and his works were given to Pope John XXIII and Pope Paul VI. A duplicate of the crucifix given to the Vatican in 1959 is on display within the Delchamps collection.
Bellingrath is fortunate to house a collection which covers such a broad range of natural and beautiful subjects. Boehm’s birds amidst the branches of realistic flowers are a fitting compliment to the Gardens which surround them. As an art for, this collection represents the first successful American hard-paste porcelain.