The Gardiner Museum is open seven days a week! Explore our permanent collection, discover special exhibitions, and get hands-on with clay in our studios. We look forward to welcoming you.
Discover an exhibition of new work in our lobby by members of Inspirations Studio, a unique low-barrier ceramics program in Toronto for women and gender diverse people who have experienced marginalization.
Our Joy of Ceramics fundraiser returns on October 27, featuring a presentation by Sarah Milroy, Chief Curator at the McMichael Gallery, who will talk about a work by Shary Boyle, including its many meanings and her decision to donate it. This event sells out every year!
Every object in our permanent collection can be accessed through our eMuseum portal. Learn about individual collecting areas, like Italian Maiolica or Modern and Contemporary Ceramics, or search the full collection by keyword. You'll be amazed by what you discover!
Help us continue to offer innovative and engaging exhibitions, programs, and community projects in person and online, as well as plan for the future. Please consider making a donation today.
The Gardiner Museum holds a unique collection of 107 scent bottles produced across Europe, with a particular focus on factories located around London where they were a specialty.
At a time when clean water was scarce and used sparingly, perfume was used to suggest cleanliness. Perfume was a symbol of luxury, a sign of rank and social distinction. In addition to being worn on the self, it was added to gloves, items of clothing, bed linens and cosmetics.
The Gardiner’s collection illustrates the range of playful forms that scent bottles espoused, including animals, flowers and figures of lovers. Some examples present multiple containers for different fragrances, small boxes to store beauty patches, mirrors under the base, and rich gold mounts that enhanced the value of the object. A staple of elegance, these little luxuries were appreciated by men and women, and were kept on a dressing table or in a pocket.
Scent bottles were a personal interest of Helen Gardiner who established the collection.
1. Exotic Bird (detail), England, London, St. Jame's Factory, c.1751-1754, Gift of George and Helen Gardiner, G83.1.1005
2. Exotic Bird (detail), England, London, St. Jame's Factory, c.1751-1754, Gift of George and Helen Gardiner, G83.1.1005
3. Wall Vase (detail), Austria, Du Paquier, c.1730, Gift of George and Helen Gardiner, G83.1.1220
4. Sunflower Dish (detail), England, London, c.1755, Gift of George and Helen Gardiner, G83.1.1108.1-2
5. Ewer and Basin (detail), France, Sèvres, c.1758, Gift of George and Helen Gardiner, G84.1.2
6. The Monkey Orchestra (detail), Germany, Dresden, Meissen, c.1753-1775, Gift of George and Helen Gardiner, G83.1.675.1-.18
7. Sugar Box with Armorial (detail), Italy, Doccia, c.1745-1750, Gift of George and Helen Gardiner, G83.1.1105
8. Gardener with Watering Can (detail), Switzerland, Zurich, c.1770, The Hans Syz Collection, G96.5.421
9. Chocolate Pot (detail), Denmark, Copenhagen, c.1775, Gift of George and Helen Gardiner, G83.1.1104
10. Scowling Harlequin (detail), Germany, Meissen, c.1738-40, Gift of George and Helen Gardiner, G83.1.907
11. Teapot (detail), Germany, Meissen, c.1730, decorated at Lauche, Gift of George and Helen Gardiner, G83.1.764
111 Queen's Park
Canada, M5S 2C7