I met Anne about 15 years ago when I was working at Pacific Asia Museum and she was working at the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens researching their William Morris Collection. She had recently returned to California from England, where she had studied English literature at Oxford and British art at the Courtauld Institute in London. For me, California was exotic, but for Anne, who had grown up here, England was far more captivating, so she wasn’t too thrilled to be back here.
We met through a mutual friend, Lee, and together the three of us often went on hikes and talked about art, our jobs and hopes for the future. Anne struck me right away as a bright, lovely woman who would do well in her career, whatever she chose to do. She was considering doing a doctorate, but instead she was offered a terrific job as curator at the Gamble House in Pasadena, where she has been working for over ten years and has truly thrived. The Gamble House is a gorgeous Arts and Crafts home designed in 1908 by the architects Charles and Henry Greene, and many of their artistic influences were Japanese. So Anne and I had more in common professionally now. Together we discussed some of the Japanese objects in the house, and she invited me to give a lecture and sake tasting there one evening. When she and her boss visited Japan for a research trip for an exhibition, we happened to be there at the same time and all met up for lunch in Tokyo – something we rarely managed to do here! At the Gamble House, she has worked on several major exhibitions about the American Arts and Crafts Movement, celebrated the house’s centennial and co-wrote a beautiful book about the house. Her work has been impressive, and I have great admiration for her as a colleague. As a friend she has also been kind and thoughtful friend, always been interested in my world and keen to share her own with me.
Tonight I am wishing we’d spent more time sharing our worlds over lunch. On Friday Anne will end her job at the Gamble House to begin a new life in Worcester, Massachusetts, with her husband Ron (just married!) and her 16-year old kitty Oliver. A baby is also on the horizon. This evening, I joined some of her other friends to celebrate our friendship with her, and I gave her a foldable Japanese paper lamp, made by an artist-friend in Japan as a reminder of our professional connection through Japanese art and arts and crafts. She is not sure yet what her new life will bring her professionally, but I am so glad she was able to create a life here that made her happy, and I know she will be able to do the same in her new home.