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Many of the items from a recent donation of early Kentucky art to Louisville’s Speed Museum are now on exhibit.

The donation comes from Robert and Norma Noe. The natives of Garrard County, Kentucky developed an appreciation of antiques and decorative art while living in the nation’s capital.

They moved back to Kentucky in 1980, and that’s when they began amassing the collection of 19th century Kentucky furniture, paintings, textiles other items.

Many of the 119 pieces are now on view at the museum. Curator of Decorative Arts and Design Scott Erbes says they include an impressive set of sugar chests and sugar desks.

“(It’s) a very distinctive regional form that was made, as the name implies, to store sugar. They were very interested in acquiring those, and so we have a great collection of those. (There are also) interesting paintings and works on paper of well-known Kentuckians like Henry Clay, Cassius Clay—his cousin, and other Kentuckians as well,” Erbes said.

The exhibition, “Kentucky Antiques from the Noe Collection: A Gift to the Commonwealth,” will be on view through early February at the Speed.

(Photos: Sugar Chest, 1800-1820 Walnut, poplar, other woods Probably Madison County, Kentucky, area; Paul Sawyier (American, 1865–1917), Riverbank Scene, Watercolor on paper mounted on board)

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation."