Passage to Asia

Isabella de la Houssaye is one of those amazing women who was trained as a lawyer, worked as a banker, had five children, and traveled all over the world, having exotic adventures with her family while adding to her extraordinary collections of textiles and artifacts.

Based in Hong Kong when working for White & Case in the mid-’90s, Ms. de la Houssaye traveled to the Philippines, Thailand, China and Indonesia with her husband, David Crane, who works for the Swiss firm ABB. To spend the Thanksgiving holiday together, the family traveled to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

Another adventurous trip Ms. de la Houssaye took was to a small island off Mindanao in the Philippines, where tourists had been killed by terrorists. Traveling in a small boat, she was able to procure T’boli warp ikat pants made of abaca, a fiber from a small banana-like plant that grows on the island. The Mindanoans couldn’t grow cotton or import silk.

The Lawrenceville resident has had exhibits of her textiles, carpets, antiques, art and artifacts at Princeton Day School, where her children have been educated. She has written catalogs to accompany these. Presently, she and Mr. Crane are displaying decorative arts from China’s Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) in the Anne Reid ’72 Art Gallery Oct. 10- Nov. 7.

The exhibit includes more than 70 artifacts, including lacquerware, ceramics, jewelry, furniture, textiles and embroidery from the period, well as collection of bound foot shoes and accessories.

Ms. de la Houssaye will give gallery talks, so the exhibit will enhance ongoing classroom explorations of Asian culture and language at PDS.

An opening reception will be held Oct. 21, 6-8 p.m. Gallery hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday  and by appointment on weekends. (609) 924-6700

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One Response to Passage to Asia

  1. Nick Papandreou says:

    I am delighted to read about Isabella’s artistic ventures. I am a friend of hers, (Nick Papandreou) and have lost contact with her from Princeton days. Can you send her my email?
    Mine is
    tulayev@gmail.com.
    Or send me hers?
    Thanks in advance
    Nick Papandreou, Princeton Ph.D. 1986

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