Fall Benefit Lecture

Sunday, October 17, 2021
via Zoom
2:00 p.m. Eastern U.S. Time


Inside Catherine de’ Medici’s Parisian Palace
by Sheila ffolliott


We are thrilled to welcome Sheila ffolliott ’79, RCS ’98, SP ’11, ’12, ’15-’17 as this year’s Fall Lecture speaker. Please join us on Zoom for this virtual event!

On the site of what is today the Forum des Halles in the heart of Paris once stood a magnificent Renaissance palace, the Hôtel de la Reine. Join us for a fascinating tour of this building, created in 1572 as a home for Catherine de’ Medici (1519-89), the notorious queen consort and queen mother of France. In this profusely illustrated lecture, Sheila ffolliott brings the palace to life as a stage for displays of power. On the evening of Shrove Tuesday in 1580, Catherine held a lavish party, attended by her son King Henri III and Queen Elizabeth I’s ambassador, Sir Henry Cobham and his wife Anne, among many others. Cobham and his wife each compiled detailed accounts of the festivities, commenting on their interactions with fellow guests; who the king chose as his dancing partners; the political implications of the evening’s entertainment; as well as the luxurious decor and the ways that food was served and consumed. Drawing upon these rare first-hand reports, as well as on inventories that illuminate the extensive collections once contained within the palace, ffolliott will explore how archives and visual (and even audio) material culture can illuminate how a great house functioned ceremonially.

This lecture is made possible by our generous sponsors:

Cynthia Bronson Altman
Thomas Appelquist & Charles Newman
Betsy Shack Barbanell
Edward Lee Cave
Margaret Civetta
Karina H. Corrigan
Nancy deWaart
Heather Ewing
Barbara File
Merry Glosband
Michele Beiny Harkins
Fenella and Morrison Heckscher
William T. Hobbs II
E. Randolph Hooks
Anne Kenny-Urban
Shepard Krech III & Sheila ffolliott
David Maxfield
Mary M. Meyer
George McNeely
David Parsons
Stewart G. Rosenblum
Charles Savage
Jay Robert Stiefel
E. Clothier Tepper
Beth Carver Wees & Dustin Wees


Individual tickets are $100 per person. A number of tickets are available for $50 and $25 in recognition of difficult times. We encourage you to purchase tickets through Eventbrite at the link below. Alternatively, please RSVP by email to: (or call 212-682-6840) and send a check to the American Friends of Attingham, 205 Lexington Avenue, Suite 1600, New York, NY 10016.



Lecture sponsors are essential to the success of AFA’s only annual fundraising event. This year’s sponsors will be treated to an exclusive preview of the upcoming exhibition Inspiring Walt Disney: The Animation of French Decorative Arts with Wolf Burchard, Associate Curator of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts at the Metropolitan Museum, and Helen Jacobsen, formerly Senior Curator and Curator of French 18th-century Decorative Arts at the Wallace Collection, and now Executive Director of the Attingham Trust. This highly anticipated exhibition will be opening at The Met in December and in Spring 2022 at The Wallace Collection in London. For more information on becoming a lecture sponsor, please contact (or call 212-682-6840). Sponsorships start at $1,000 per person.

Tickets and sponsorships are fully tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

About Sheila ffolliott

Many will know Sheila as an American Friends of Attingham Past President and 2012 Hudson Valley Study Programme Coordinator. She is a Professor Emerita in the Department of History and Art History at George Mason University and has served on the Board of the Medici Archive Project in Florence since 2013. She has lectured and published widely in the U.S. and Europe. Her research examines Renaissance women, as artists, and as patrons and collectors. Catherine de’ Medici, the 16th century queen of France, has been a particular focus, and her lecture draws from her current project on Catherine’s relationship with the portrait, as a sitter and collector.


Image: Anon. Evening ball for the wedding of Anne, Duke of Joyeuse and Marguerite de Vaudémont, on September 24, 1581. Painted in 1581-1582. Paris: Louvre.