The foundation of the Dixon's decorative art holdings is the Warda Stevens Stout Collection of Eighteenth century German porcelain, which was bequeathed to the museum in 1985. Numbering nearly 600 pieces, this collection includes a remarkable survey of Meissen tableware and figures dating from the early Bottger period through mid-century, a large group of Hochst figures, and selected figures and tableware from the Vienna, Frankenthal, Furstenberg, Ludwigsburg, Nymphenburg, and Berlin porcelain factories. The Dixon has expanded its collection parameters to include outstanding examples of French 18th and 19th century porcelain and other decorative arts.
In 2008, the Dixon Gallery and Gardens received an important group of 18th and 19th-century English porcelain from the Charlotte Stout Hooker Collection. For Mrs. Hooker, a long-time Dixon board member, collecting is not just a pastime, but a passion and a family tradition. Her grandfather, Warder W. Stevens, amassed a formidable group of pioneer agricultural implements, which he donated to the University of Indiana. Her mother, Warda Stevens Stout, assembled one of the world’s great collections of 18th-century German porcelain, which she bequeathed to the Dixon in 1985. Mrs. Stout passed her love of porcelain on to her daughter Charlotte, along with a small collection that would be the start of an extraordinary body of work in its own right. Over the next forty years, Mrs. Hooker assembled major examples from each of the great porcelain factories in 18th and 19th-century England.
Charlotte Stout Hooker trained her discerning eye and focused her deep knowledge of English porcelain on fine tableware and figural pieces. Her acquisitive nature resulted in a large and encyclopedic collection that the magazine Art and Antiques named one of the top 100 in the United States. The collection includes some of the rarest and most unique objects produced by the Chelsea, Derby, Bow, and Worcester manufactories, as well as works from other factories in England. When combined with her mother’s earlier bequest, Mrs. Hooker’s remarkable contribution to the Dixon has made our porcelain holdings among the most significant in the world.