An exquisite collection of decorative arts donated to the community of Salamanca by a private collector and now installed in a palace built at the beginning of the 20th century in the style of Art Nouveau. Porcelain, enamel – a beautiful pair of enamel vases by Limoges, glass – including perfume bottles, a huge doll collection, some furniture with superb marquetry work, fans, paintings and other collectables.
The most stunning pieces were figurines and statuettes made out of bronze or a combination of bronze and ivory (called chryselephantine, and able to be made because of the huge amount of ivory stock available from the colonies at the end of the 19th century). Over one hundred pieces, some with classical inspiration, but many reflecting the epochs fascination with the exotic and mysterious Middle East. Dancing girls, cavorting acrobats, members of the Russian ballet company of Diaghilev – usually one only sees a solitary piece or two such as at the recent NGV Art Deco exhibition. To see so many pieces – beautifully displayed – illustrated the superb skills of the sculptors and showed the demand and taste of the high bourgeoise of the time.
The museum shop had a wonderful range of items for sale, especially jewellery and books. In fact, the shop itself is worth a visit – it is a mini version of the museum, the difference being that you can buy lovely reproductions of the originals inside!