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Monday, 19 January 2015

Housing a Royal Collection


A painter to royalty, a Frenchman, a Swiss friend and a Polish king are all part of the history and creation of the Dulwich Picture Gallery.

Francis Bourgeios British born of Swiss ancestry was a court painter to King George III.  Not only did he paint but was also a great collector and dealer of art.  Bourgeios and his friend Noel Desenfans (a French writer who came to Britian in 1769) were commissioned by King Augustus of Poland to create a royal collection of art from scratch.  Following the King's abdication the pair were left with the collection.  Among those they tried selling the work to, were the Tsar of Russia and the British government.   It became clear that they were not going to be able to sell the collection in its entirety, so the pair determined the work should be bequeathed to an organisation that would ensure the collection remained intact.  The British Museum was the prime candidate, but Bourgeios found them too difficult to work with.

It was important to the two men that the collection be available for viewing by the general public.  Desenfans died in 1807 leaving the collection to Bourgeios, who in turn bequeathed the collection along with £10,000 to the Dulwich College to build a public gallery.

7 comments:

Stefan Jansson said...

Thanks for the history lesson. I like how the shadows hits the old building. They draw you in somehow.

Katharine A said...

I've been there many times & did not know this about the Dulwich Picture Gallery's history. Thanks for sharing it.

Sharon Anck said...

What an interesting history. I will make of point of visiting here one day.

Bill Nicholls said...

Sounds like our gain, that is a place I must visit sometime

William Kendall said...

It's a beautiful building. I think this is the first I've heard of the gallery.

llandudnopictures said...

Very interesting, great photo too...

Jack said...

Very informative. George III is not very popular in America.

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