The Delchamps Gallery of Boehm Porcelain
The Delchamps Gallery of Boehm Porcelain (pronounced “beam”) was originally designed in 1939 as an open six-car garage with guest quarters above. The gallery was created in 1967 to house a collection of Boehm porcelain given to the Gardens from Mobile’s Delchamps family and represents the largest public display of the works of the American sculptor, Edward Marshall Boehm.
Edward Boehm started his porcelain artistry in 1949 after a career as a farm manager and veterinarian’s assistant. His deep love and understanding of animals of all kinds was translated into priceless porcelain sculptures featuring incredible detail and color. In less than a decade, the Eisenhower administration had taken note of his unique American artwork and began a longstanding tradition of sending pieces of Boehm porcelain as official gifts to overseas dignitaries. Within a short time, his work was being admired from Peking to Buckingham Palace.
During his lifetime, Boehm was honored by commissions from five American Presidents and his works were given to Pope John XXIII and Pope Paul VI. A duplicate of the crucifix given to the Vatican in 1959 is on display within the Delchamps collection.
Bellingrath is fortunate to house a collection which covers such a broad range of natural and beautiful subjects. Boehm’s birds amidst the branches of realistic flowers are a fitting compliment to the Gardens which surround them. As an art form, this collection represents the first successful American hard-paste porcelain.