Colnaghi Foundation Journal 01 - Page 113

Martin Colnaghi and the National Gallery
others of his purchases were: Jan Steen’s “Bad Company,”
De Zoete sale, 1885, 1,350gs, and Cuyp’s “Travellers at an
Inn,” Marlborough sale, 1886, 1,750gs. In the Ruston sale,
1898, he gave 5,000gs for Rembrandt’s “Nicholas Ruts,”
and in the famous Miles sale, a year later, he was the very
strenuous under-bidder in the contest for the “Holy Family,”
by Rubens, which realised 8,300gs. One of his latest (if not
his last) attendances at Christie’s was on Dec. 1, 1906, when
he bought Francia’s “Madonna and Saviour” for 125gs. But
the late connoisseur (who should not be confused as being
connected in any way with the well-known firm of Messrs.
P. and D. Colnaghi and Co.) found most of his occupation
in private negotiation and consultation over art matters.
To-day, at Christie’s, when the chief British and foreign
collectors and agents are assembled for the dispersal of the
final portion of the wonderful Holland collection, there will
doubtless be many expressions of regret that the cheery and
bright little “Signor” will be seen in his old haunts no more.
(c) Account of Martin Colnaghi’s Funeral: “Court Circular,”
The Times, 2 July 1908, p. 13:
The funeral of Mr. Martin Colnaghi took place yesterday.
The first part of the service was held at St. James’s Church,
Piccadilly. Canon McCormick, the rector, officiated, assisted
by the Rev. G. Middleton. The coffin, covered with beautiful
wreaths, was followed only by the immediate relations
and close friends. The service was fully choral, and was
attended by a number of representatives of the leading
firms of art dealers and others, among those present being
Mr. C. Morland Agnew, Mr. F.W. Quantrell, Mr. H. Graves,
Mr. E.R. Robson, Mr. C. Barber, members of the firm of
Paul and Dominic Colnaghi and Co., Mr. F.G. Mall, Lady
Rosamond Christie, Miss Robinson, Miss Victoria LevesonGower, Mr. George Lewis, Mr. Langton Douglas, Mr. A.
Kay, Mr. E. Howard, and Mr. L. Lesser. The interment was
in the family grave in Highgate Cemetery. Among the large
number present were Major H. Colnaghi, R.R., cousin; Mr.
Aubrey Robinson, and Mr. Ernest George Smith, brothersin-law; Mr. Leigh Bennett, Mr. A. Leigh Bennett (Coldstream
Guards), Mr. W.H. Streatfeild, Mr. D.G.H. Pollock, Mr. Harry
Wallis, Mr. Frederick Byard, Mr. Edwin Byard, Mr. Boydell
Graves, Mr. G. Marchetti, and Mr. Algernon Graves, the
last-mentioned also representing Mr. Lockett Agnew and Mr.
Morland Agnew. Mr. Arthur Leveson-Gower was unable to
be present owing to absence from London.
2. Will and Bequest of Martin Colnaghi:
(a) Extracts from the Will of Martin Henry Colnaghi, 23
December 1907, and Codicil, dated 3 June 1908 (NGA:
NG21/8/1). The parts italicized have direct bearing on the
National Gallery:
Gallery 53 Pall Mall in the county of Middlesex HEREBY
REVOKE all former Wills Codicils and Testamentary
Instruments made by me and DECLARE THIS TO BE
Point 6. I BEQUEATH the following pictures unto the Trustees for
the time being of the National Gallery provided they will accept the
same on the terms and subject to the conditions hereinafter expressed in
relation thereto namely:(a) Madonna Child and Saints by Lorenzo Lotto (signed)
(b) The Bohemians by Philip Wouvermans (described in
Martin Colnaghi and the National Gallery
Smith’s Catalogue Raisoné) [sic]
(c) Landscape by Gainsborough (exhibited in the Winter
Exhibition of the Royal Academy 1892 numbered 4)
AND I DIRECT that the legacy duty (if any shall be
claimed) in respect of the said bequest shall be paid out of
my residuary estate.
Point 8. I GIVE AND BEQUEATH all the residue of
my estate and effects whether Real or Personal unto my
Trustees In trust that they shall sell call in collect and
convert into money the same premises at such time or
times and in such manner as they shall think fit (but as to
reversionary property not until it falls into possession unless
it shall appear to my Trustees that an earlier sale would
be beneficial and so that they shall have the fullest power
and discretion to postpone the sale calling in or conversion
of the whole or any part or parts of the said premises
during such period as they shall think proper without being
responsible for loss and shall apply the income derived
therefrom until sale or conversion as income for all the
purposes of this my Will) and shall out of the moneys to
arise from the sale calling in and conversion or forming part
of my residuary real and personal estate pay my funeral
and testamentary expenses and debts and the legacies
bequeathed by this my Will or any Codicil hereto and
the duties hereby directed to be paid out of my residuary
estate And shall invest the residue of the same monies in
any investments or securities authorised by law for the
investment of trust funds but so that they shall have power
from time to time at their absolute discretion to change such
investments or any investments forming part of my estate
which they may think fit to retain and shall stand possessed
of the investments for the time being representing my residuary
estate In trust to pay the income arising therefrom to my said Wife
during her life and after her death In trust (subject to the payment out
of the capital of my residuary estate of any duties which may then be
payable to the Inland Revenue) to place both the Capital and Income
thereof at the disposal of the Trustees for the time being of the National
Gallery to the intent that they may out of the income thereof from time
to time purchase pictures annually or otherwise according to the absolute
discretion of the same Trustees PROVIDED NEVERTHELESS that
they shall not accumulate or retain unexpended more than three years
income at any time AND I DECLARE that it is my earnest desire that
the pictures so to be purchased from time to time as well as the pictures
heretofore specifically bequeathed may be hung together in the National
Gallery so as to form as nearly as may be one group to be known as
and called “the Martin Colnaghi bequest” And it is my desire that
each picture accepted or purchased under the provisions of this my Will
may have a plate or inscription affixed thereto on which those or similar
words appear in a sufficiently conspicuous position AND I DIRECT
my Trustees before handing over the pictures hereinbefore bequeathed
to the Trustees of the National Gallery or applying any portion of the
funds representing my residuary estate in the purchase of other pictures
and before transferring the same funds or any part thereof to the same
Trustees for the purposes aforesaid to obtain from the Trustees of the
National Gallery such assurance as my Trustees may properly ask or
as the same Trustees in like cases are accustomed to give for securing the
recognition and future observance of the terms or conditions hereinbefore
expressed AND I FURTHER DECLARE that my Trustees having
obtained such assurance as aforesaid shall not be answerable for any
future breach or non-observance of the said terms or conditions and that
they may either themselves from time to time effect such purchases of
pictures as aforesaid under the direction of the Trustees of the National
Gallery or may transfer or pay the whole or any part of the funds or
moneys for the time being constituting or representing my residuary
estate to the same Trustees for the purposes aforesaid without seeing to
the application thereof.
Gallery 53 Pall Mall in the County of Middlesex HEREBY
DECLARE this to be a Codicil of my Will which bears the
date the Twenty third day of December One thousand nine
hundred and seven
Point 2. I BEQUEATH to the Trustees for the time being of the
National Gallery in addition to the pictures bequeathed to them by my
said Will and subject to the terms and conditions therein expressed the
celebrated picture known as “Dawn” painted by A. Van der Neer and
I direct that the legacy duty if any shall be claimed in respect of this
bequest shall be paid out of my residuary estate
Variations of Trusts of Colnaghi Bequest (NGA:
2. The provisions of the said Will of Martin Henry
Colnaghi are hereby varied so as to give effect to the
following provisions of this Scheme:
(a) If the annual income of the Colnaghi Bequest is
insufficient to purchase a picture which, in the
judgement of the Trustees, would be a desirable
addition to the National Gallery collection, the
Trustees may from time to time accumulate
the income of the Bequest for such period, not
exceeding 10 years, as will, in their opinion,
produce a sufficient sum for the purchase of such a
picture as aforesaid.
(b) The Trustees may from time to time apply so much
of the capital endowment of the Colnaghi Bequest
as may be authorised by further Orders of the
Minister of Education, subject to the replacement
of such capital in accordance with provisions of
such Orders, in the purchase of pictures for the
National Gallery in pursuance of the trusts of the
said will of Martin Henry Colnaghi.
(b) In reply to a letter written by the Keeper, on the
instructions of the Trustees, to the solicitors acting for the
Trustees of the Will explaining the difficulties of hanging
the various pictures bequeathed or purchased under the
bequest, the following letter was received:

10, 11, 12, Ely Place,
Holborn, E.C. 1.

7th March 1941
Dear Sir,
Martin H. Colnaghi decd.
We duly received your letter of the 3rd instant
and note what you say.
Upon consideration of the relevant clauses in
the late Mr. Colnaghi’s Will concerning the bequest to the
National Gallery, it seems to us clear that the statements in
the Will are merely expressions of desire, and we have so
advised the Trustees.
As it is not practicable for these desires to be
fully carried out, the Trustees have instructed us that they
would be satisfied with an assurance by the Trustees of the
National Gallery that they will comply with Mr. Colnaghi’s
desires so far as may be found compatible with modern
practice, and that the pictures bequeathed or purchased
under his bequest will be identifiable as such by persons
visiting the Gallery.
Perhaps you will kindly let us know whether
the Trustees of the National Gallery are willing to give our
clients an assurance in these terms.
Yours faithfully,
(Signed) LEWIS & LEWIS.
The Keeper,
The National Gallery,
Trafalgar Square,
(c) Summary of the Will: “Mr. Martin Colnaghi’s Gift to
the Nation,” The Times, 5 August 1908, p. 11:
Mr. Martin Henry Colnaghi, of the Marlborough Gallery,
53, Pall Mall, S.W., and of Arkley Cottage, Chipping
Barnet, Herts, art critic and dealer in works of art, who
died on June 26, aged 88 years, left estate of the gross
value of £90,531 14s. 4d., of which the net personalty
has been sworn at £79,880 0s. 8d. As stated in The Times
on July 16, Mr. Colnaghi left the following pictures to the
Trustees of the National Gallery: - “Madonna, Child, and
Saints,” by Lorenzo Lotto (signed); “The Bohemians,”
by Philip Wouvermans; landscape by Gainsborough
(exhibited in the winter exhibition of the Royal Academy,
1892); and “Dawn,” by A. Van der Neer.
The residue of his property he left to his wife for life,
and, on her death, the residue of his estate, which will,
apparently amount to nearly £80,000, to the Trustees of
the National Gallery for the purchase of pictures annually,
or otherwise, at their discretion, provided that the income
shall not accumulate for more than three years, and that
they shall group together pictures so purchased and those
left to them, as above, as the “Martin Colnaghi” bequest,
and requesting the Trustees also to affix plates to each of
the said pictures recording the fact that they were given by
the testator or purchased under this bequest.
3. Notices of the sales of Martin Colnaghi’s picture stock:
(a) “The Martin H. Colnaghi Sale,” The Times, 2 October
1908, p. 7:
The late Mr. Martin H. Colnaghi, of the Marlborough
Gallery, Pall-mall, the well-known picture dealer and
expert, left a very considerable stock of pictures by ancient
and modern masters. It is estimated that this stock consists
of from 1,000 to 1,200 works, which will be sold at auction
by Messrs. Robinson, Fisher and Co., at Willis’s Rooms,
King-street, St. James’s-square. The sale will be divided
into several portions, the first of which will be dispersed
probably next month.
(b) ‘The Martin Colnaghi Sale,” The Times, 2 November
1908, p. 5:
The second portion of the late Mr. Martin H. Colnaghi’s
extensive stock of pictures will be sold by Messrs.
Robinson, Fisher, and Co., at Willis’s Rooms, King-street,
St. James’s-square, on Thursday and Friday next. It
consists chiefly of works by artists of the modern schools,
English and Continental. Among the few pictures by artists
of the early English school there is one which apparently
adds a new name to the list – Lot 251 is a picture of
“Roubilliac sculpturing the Bust of Garrick,” painted by
N. Solan, 1757. Solan’s name as an artist does not appear
in “Bryan,” and there is no record of him as an exhibitor
at the Royal Academy, or at either of the two societies
which preceded it.
(c) “Sale of Colnaghi Pictures,” The Times, 20 November
1908, p. 15:
Messrs. Robinson, Fisher, and Co. began yesterday the
two days’ sale of the third portion of the stock of pictures,
decorative furniture, statuary, and bronzes of the late
Mr. Martin H. Colnaghi, of the Marlborough Gallery,
Pall-mall, 129 lots realizing a total of about £8,800.
This portion includes the more important pictures which
remained in Mr. Colnaghi’s galleries up to the time of his
death, and the sale attracted a great number of dealers,
English and French. The prices realized were, on the
whole, satisfactory. A large number of lots were knocked
down to Mr. Pawsey, who acquired those in the following
report to which no name of a purchaser is added.
The chief picture of the sale was a fine example of A.
Van der Neer, a river scene by moonlight, with boats and
figures and cloudy sky, with cattle, felled timber, houses,
&c., and [sic] canvas 53 in. by 38in., signed and dated; this
work, which realized the record price of 1,400 guineas at
the Duke of Fife’s sale last year, was now started at 100
guineas, and after a keen competition between Messrs.
Dowdeswell, Shepherd and Sulley, was knocked down to
the last named at 900 guineas, or 500 guineas less than
the late owner gave for it. The next highest price was paid
for a Raeburn portrait of Henry Lord Viscount Melville,
Governor of the Bank of Scotland, a whole length in
robes, standing by a table on which are papers &c.; this fell
to Mr. Ichenhauser at 520 guineas. The engraved version
of this picture is, as is well known, the property of the
Bank of Scotland.
black dress, 16in. by 13in., signed with initials, 90 guineas
(Cox); G. Netscher, “The Lacemaker,” an interior with a
lady, dressed in white satin, seated at a table, panel, 15in.
by 12in., 150 guineas (Shepherd); Jacob Ruysdael, “The
Bleaching Ground at Haarlem,” 15in. by 14in., signed
with initials, 190 guineas (T. Permain); a similar picture
was sold at Christie’s in 1902 for 230 guineas, whilst Sir
James Knowles’s larger picture of the same subject sold
for 920 guineas last May; Van Beyeren, fruit and gold
and silver vessels on a table, on which is an Oriental rug,
47in. by 44in., signed and dated, 220 guineas (Hallyn); A.
Watteau, “The Garden Party”, exhibited at the Guildhall
in 1902, 250 guineas; Simpson’s small whole-length copy
of Sir Thomas Lawrence’s portrait of Pius VII., panel,
45in. by 32in., 130 guineas – the history of this work
was set forth in The Times of December 13 last; Rubens,
“The Court of Dionysius,” 10½in. by 9in., 280 guineas
(Hardwicke); Rembrandt, portrait of the artist, 30in.
by 25in., 440 guineas (Allen); Sir H. Raeburn, portrait
of Mrs. Mercer (née Magdalen Wilson), in white dress
and powdered hair, 26in. by 22in., 170 guineas (Wallis);
W. Dobson, portrait of James Stanley, Earl of Derby,
in armour, three-quarter length, 48in. by 35in., 100
guineas (Lofts); F. Goya, portrait of Dona Maria Amalia
de Sajonia, wife of Carlos III, in pink dress with lace
mantilla, holding a book in her left hand, 43in. by 31in.,
260 guineas (Agnew), Sir E. Landseer, “Jocko,” 1828, 50in.
by 40in., exhibited at the Old Masters’ in 1890, engraved
by T.L. Atkinson, 200 guineas (Sampson); Professor L.C.
Müller, The Arab School, a group of numerous figures in
the open air, the Arab teacher upright, the background of
Moorish buildings, 50in. by 30in., 320 guineas (Wallis).
(d) “Art Sales, “The Times, 23 November 1908, p. 8:
Messrs. Robinson, Fisher, and Co. have concluded the
sale of the third portion of the stock of pictures and
objects of art of the late Mr. Martin H. Colnaghi, a
total of £3,300 being realized. The few lots of note
included a water-colour drawing by T.S. Cooper, cattle in
Canterbury meadows, 24in. by 18in., signed and dated
1867 – 60 guineas (Mitchell); and the following pictures:
- J.B. Greuze, portrait of a girl with head slightly turned
to left, hair bound with blue ribbon, 18in. by 12in.,
exhibited at the Guildhall, 1902 – 190 guineas (Pawsey);
The more important of the other pictures were the
following: - Sir P. Lely, portrait of the Duchess of
Cleveland, in yellow satin dress, pearl necklace, seated,
holding some flowers, 50in. by 40in., 300 guineas (Wallis)this is presumably the portrait purchased in 1901 at 420
guineas; Rembrandt, portrait of the artist, in black dress
and cap, gold neck-chain, holding a scroll, 33in. by 26in.,
185 guineas; J. Backer, family group listening to St. John
the Baptist preaching, signed and dated 1637, 88in. by
67in., 180 guineas (Fuller); F. Hals, “The Fish Seller,” 35in.
by 29in., 120 guineas; D. Teniers, Interior of a Tavern,
with figures and still life, man and woman seated at a
table drinking, 34in. by 25in., 125 guineas (Shepherd);
Canaletto, courtyard of a palace, “with a portrait of the
artist sketching and other figures,” 47in. by 34in., 120
guineas; C. Jansens, Portrait of Lady Falkland, in low
black dress with lace collar and cuffs, 30in. by 25in., 120
guineas; G. Terberg, small portrait of a gentleman in
T. Gainsborough, “Crossing the Ford,” cattle, sheep, and
herdsmen fording a river by a high sandbank, 14in. by
13in., from the Cavendish Bentinck collection, exhibited
at the Old Masters, 1890 – 240 guineas (Bowles); B.
Canaletto, the English church at Dresden, with the Pont
Auguste and numerous figures, and the Faubourg Neustadt
and hills in the distance, 48in. by 37in. – 440 guineas
(Pawsey); Rubens, portrait of Helen Fourment, in rich
yellow dress and hat with feather, panel, 25in. by 19in. –
185 guineas (Wallis). The statuary and bronzes included a
group of a Breton fisherwoman and child, by Dalou, 37in.
high – 155 guineas (Joubert); and a pair of finely-modelled
lions couchant, in bronze on ormolu bases, with masks,
wings, arrows, and honeysuckle, formerly the property of
Napoleon I. – 145 guineas (Wills and Simmons).


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