Bayou Bend Receives Important Gift of Early Texas Decorative Art

Adolph Kempen, Austin, Texas, 1844-1885, Desk, c. 1875 Walnut and maple; collection of William J. Hill

A rare writing desk and examples of early Texas pottery are included in a recent donation of early Texas decorative art items to the Bayou Bend Collection in Houston. That’s according to the Houston Chronicle, Maine Antiques Digest and other sources. The gifts were donated by Houston-born sixth generation Texan William J. Hill.

Created by Austin cabinetmaker Adolph Kempen, the Houston Chronicle called the circa-1975 desk the most significant portion of the donation. It is one of only few such desks documented by Kempen, who migrated to that city from Germany via Galveston a few years before crafting the desk. Adolph Kempen, Austin,  Texas, 1844-1885, Desk, c.  1875 Walnut and maple;  collection of William J. HillIt appeared on Antiques Roadshow on July 2, 2012 where it was appraised at as much as $12,000.

Bayou Bend Curator Michael K. Brown told reporters the pottery gift dramatically expands the museum’s early Texas pottery collection.

The desk is featured about six minutes into the program. Click to watch.

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