MILDRED S. HILSON
Mrs. Hilson, the widow of Edwin I. Hilson, an investment banker who died in 1952, was one of the last of a generation of grand dames who made New York society so vibrant over the past few decades.
Her fund-raising efforts raised millions of dollars for the Hospital for Special Surgery and the American Cancer Society, among many other worthy causes. Mrs. Hilson's first love was the Republican party. She befriended every Republican president since Dwight D. Eisenhower, as well as senators, congressmen and mayors who all came to pay court on her. She frequently travelled with Mamie Eisenhower, and Dwight Eisenhower, an amateur artist, painted her portrait which hung in her study. George and Barbara Bush became good friends while they lived at Waldorf Towers during Mr. Bush's tenure as U.S. delegate to the United Nations and in 1988, Richard Nixon played 'Happy Birthday' on the piano while over 200 guests sang along at Mrs. Hilson's 90th birthday gala.
In her home in New York's Waldorf Towers, Mrs. Hilson entertained guests including the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Laurence Olivier and her favourite couturier, Hubert de Givenchy, as well as numerous United Nations ambassadors and American presidents. Her surroundings reflected her impeccable taste, and her discerning eye for quality and design. Mrs. Hilson's late Georgian furniture exemplifies the American taste of her generation.
Mrs. Hilson also assembled an outstanding group of English porcelain using botanical motifs. The collection includes a number of sculptural pieces and historically documents the variety of shapes, pastes and designs produced from the mid-18th to the mid-19th Century - the zenith of Britian's porcelain industry. The whimsical pieces attributed to Longton Hall - tea-wares painted with butterflies and cabbage-leaf molded baskets, and sauceboats - are among the best produced by this small factory. Mrs. Hilson applied her great love for botanical patterns to needlework, another of her talents.
Mildred Hilson once said of her good friend, the Duchess of Windsor, 'if [she] was seen on her knees scrubbing a floor, she would still be a devasting woman.' It would not be difficult to find a chorus of friends to pay such a compliment to the elegant figure of Mildred Hilson.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 14, 1995
AT 10:00 A.M.
ENGLISH AND CONTINENTAL ENAMELS