The decorative arts collection at the Musée Fabre was properly initiated in 1967 with the bequest from Madame Frédéric Sabatier d’Espeyran of her private house and the collections it housed. She was fulfilling the wish of her husband, a diplomat and great bibliophile, to contribute to the enrichment of the heritage of their native city.
On two floors, this house has a great many fine pieces, with Napoleon III furniture and interiors – evidence of the luxurious life of a Montpellier family in the second half of the 19th century – and the collections of 18th century furniture and objets d’art from the Paris apartment owned by these great connoisseurs. The collection includes a number of remarkable items of furniture stamped with the names of celebrated cabinetmakers (Béfort, Pillot, Delorme, Sené, Bury, Fromageau), important sculptures (Pajou, Bosio...) and some paintings characteristic of their taste (Lebourg, Trouillebert, Stevens...).
Closed temporarily during the refurbishment of the Musée Fabre, the Hôtel Sabatier d’Espeyran will be reopening soon with an exhibition of the ceramic collections from the old museum. The display covers the art of faïence pottery and porcelain in Europe from the 16th to the 19th centuries with some major pieces of Italian majolica (Urbino, fabrique Fontana, the Abduction of Helen…), examples from Montpellier (Favier and Ollivier factories) and the main south-eastern centres (Marseille, Moustiers…), pieces from Strasbourg (Hannong, from the Bazille gift), Sèvres, Delft and Meissen.