Membership Matters: The Grand Tour

Posted on March 01, 2009 by Kristin Swan

Hood Quarterly, spring/summer 2009

On November 8, 2008, the Hood Museum of Art hosted One Night in November: The Grand Tour, the museum's first major fundraising event, to provide vital support to the Hood's collections and public programs. Over one hundred members of the museum and special guests attended in full evening attire and enjoyed champagne and hors d'oeuvres, art adventures, and a lively auction, followed by dinner and dancing as well as a few surprises.

The evening was inspired by the museum's recent exhibition European Art at Dartmouth, which included a portrait by Pompeo Batoni (1708–1787) of William Legge, the Second Earl of Dartmouth, an early benefactor and the namesake of Dartmouth College. This recent acquisition features the young earl striking a pose while on his grand tour of Europe, an important part of a young gentleman's finishing education from the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries. The Hood Museum of Art's event created an opportunity for guests to experience a grand tour of their own. The evening began with the presentation of passports as guests arrived and were greeted by the Hood's own modern-day Lord Dartmouth. Guests then enjoyed a "launch party" for the tour before being spirited away by museum staff members to discover art from every corner of Europe on view in the galleries and behind the scenes. At the conclusion of the art adventure, puzzle pieces collected by the travelers revealed a rare mezzotint by John Dixon (1740–1811) after George Stubbs, titled A Tigress. The acquisition was funded with proceeds from the gala and will be credited to One Night in November 2008 in perpetuity.

A live auction in the Kim Gallery hosted by Hood Director Brian Kennedy featured fun and romantic getaways, a barge tour of the Connecticut River, private dinners by professional chefs, behind-the-scenes tours and events with the Director or Curator of European Art Bart Thurber, and a private portrait sitting with internationally known Spanish artist Félix de la Concha. Following the auction, guests were escorted to the Hanover Inn for a sumptuous five-course dinner created especially for the occasion by award-winning chef Jason Merrill. Amidst silver candelabras, velvet flowers, and brocade linens, guests dined on pheasant crepinette, wild mushroom ragout, pancetta wrapped veal loin, and roulade of sole Milanese, paired with fine wines. Dan Falcone, who portrayed Lord Dartmouth throughout the evening, entertained with prose readings and songs. Following dinner, guests danced the night away to the music of Swing Machine with David Westphalen and Fred Haas, Class of 1973. Many guests had their photo taken with Lord Dartmouth as a memento of the evening—all for an important cause.

The event raised vital funds to support the museum's collections and the numerous public educational programs offered free of charge throughout the year to children and adults of all ages. As a teaching museum, the Hood has the unique opportunity to merge knowledge and discovery through scholarly research and direct engagement with original works of art. We would like to offer special thanks to our guests and supporters for making the museum's first gala event an unprecedented success.


Written March 01, 2009 by Kristin Swan