Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens, the former estate of philanthropist and art collector Miss Ima Hogg, was completed in 1928 according to classical designs by renowned Houstonian architect John F. Staub. The elegant mansion houses the Early American decorative arts and paintings collection of Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts, a congregation of nearly 2,600 furnishings, paintings, and ceramics that populates 28 period rooms in the carefully renovated house. The objects date back as far as 1620, letting the viewer observe the evolution of American taste from the Colonial to Victorian eras. Bayou Bend’s eye-widening assemblage of still lifes, armchairs, and silver was labeled a “treasure-trove” of Americana by Frommer’s, as well as a “must-see” for antiques collectors and gardeners.
The mansion at Bayou Bend is flanked by 14 acres of formal gardens and natural woodlands. Hogg designed the formal gardens as outdoor rooms for hobnobbing and decorated them with statues of a goddess and two muses, inspiring the northern blooms to write sonnets about honeybees. Today, organic gardening methods maintain the flourishing magnolias and crape myrtles.