Courtly Treasures: The Collection of Thomas W. Evans at Penn's Arthur Ross Gallery

Courtly Treasures: The Collection of Thomas W. Evans at
University of Pennsylvania’s Arthur Ross Gallery

July 18 – November 8, 2015


The Arthur Ross Gallery at the University of Pennsylvania presents Courtly Treasures: The Collection of Thomas W. Evans, Surgeon Dentist to Napoleon III, an exhibition, that brings together objects from Penn’s School of Dental Medicine.  

Grandiose scale, sumptuous surfaces, and superb craftsmanship are featured in this exhibition of over 130 artworks from the collection of Dr. Thomas W. Evans (1823-1897). As the Philadelphia-born dentist who served the French court of Napoleon III, Dr. Evans assembled a premier collection of paintings, sculpture, furniture, and decorative arts. Drawn from the University Art Collection, the exhibition offers exclusive highlights from the Evans Collection seen for the first time in 48 years. Courtly Treasures is co-curated by the Arthur Ross Gallery and the Office of the Curator, and celebrates the Centennial of the Thomas W. Evans Building in the School of Dental Medicine. 

The exhibition will transport you back to France’s Second Empire and all of its power, politics, and glory. Historic military paintings such as Henri-Louis Dupray’s monumental salon painting, Grandes manœuvres  d'automne (1883) and Le Cheval Deferré (1880) provide context for the political and social times in which Dr. Evans lived.  Masterful portraits include a half-length painting of Dr. Evans by the renowned French portraitist Henri Gervex (1892) and several works by George Peter Alexander Healy. Portrait busts include marble likenesses of Thomas W. Evans by Elisa Bloch (1896) and a plaster bust of Empress Eugenie by Alfred Émile O'Hara de Nieuwerkerke (1857). American Hiram Powers’s iconic Greek Slave is also on view. 

For lovers of decorative arts, Courtly Treasures offers a dazzling array of exuberant and masterful treasures. A silver and gold sculpture of St. George slaying the dragon tops an enormous gold tankard made by goldsmiths R & S Garrard (1877), which was presented to Dr. Evans by the Prince of Wales. A pair of Indian gold-mounted trophy horns (1884), also a gift from the Prince of Wales, bespeaks the vast expanses of Britain’s colonial empire. Among the many artifacts that represent Napoleon III and the Empress Eugénie, the collection includes a gilded Napoleonic letter-holder and blue Sevres porcelain tea set in the Chateau de Compiègne pattern. The exhibition is free and open to the public, and remains on view through November 8, 2015. 

The exhibition is organized by the Arthur Ross Gallery and the Office of the Curator in collaboration with Penn’s School of Dental Medicine.  

Additional support for the exhibition is provided by the Arthur Ross Exhibition Fund, Mrs. Arthur Ross, Mr. George Gillespie, the Hohns Family ESCAPE Program. the Patron’s Circle of the Arthur Ross Gallery, Connelly Foundation, Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation, the Philadelphia Cultural Fund, and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. 

The Gallery is located at 220 South 34th Street, Philadelphia (located in the Fisher Fine Arts Library Building), and is free and open to the public.



Free and open to the public unless otherwise noted. All events are held in the Arthur Ross Gallery.


12@12: A Tasty Art Nugget in 12 minutes flat

Every first Wednesday at 12:00 p.m. Refreshments will follow:

August 5

September 2

October 7

November 4


Wednesday, October 21, 6:30 - 8:30 PM 

Ghost Stories:  The Horrors of 19th Century Dentistry, Poe, and More 

Visit the darkened Gallery for a night of ghastly tales from the 19th Century and refreshments to nosh. Free to Penn students with ID. General Admission $5.


Thursday, November 5, 5:30 PM

Free Concert by Dolce Suono Ensemble, featuring flutist Mimi Stillman.


Student docent tours are available Saturdays and Sundays at 1:00 PM.


HOURS: Weekdays 10:00am – 5:00pm; Weekends 12:00pm – 5:00pm. Closed Mondays. Visit us on Facebook and Twitter.  To reserve a group tour please contact us at or 215-898-3617

Additional information is available at or 215-898-2083


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