CF STUDIES JOURNAL 06 - Page 149



146
The politics of masterpieces: the failed attempt to purchase Rembrandt’s The Mill for the National Gallery
N OTES
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.
16.
17.
18.
Gerald Reitlinger, The Economics of Taste, 3 vols.
(London: Barrie and Rockliff, 1961-1963), I, pp. 175206; see also Cynthia Saltzman, “Old Masters, New
World: America’s Raid on Europe's Great Pictures,”
ARTnews 108 (2009): p. 70.
London, National Gallery Archive: NG1/8, National
Gallery Board Minutes (hereafter cited as NGBM), 21
February 1911, vol. 8, p. 47.
Esmee Quodbach, “‘The Last of the American
Versailles’: The Widener Collection at Lynnewood
Hall,” Simiolus 29 (2002): pp. 42-96.
Arthur K. Wheelock, Dutch Paintings of the Seventeenth
Century. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art
Systematic Catalogue (Oxford: Oxford University Press,
1995), pp. 230-241, with bibliography. The Lansdowne
collection in 1897 comprised 363 eclectic works,
many Old Masters but also modern artists including
Edwin Landseer. See Henry C. K. Petty-FitzMaurice
Marquess of Lansdowne, Catalogue of the Collection of
Pictures Belonging to the Marquess of Lansdowne (London:
Woodfall and Kinder, 1897), no. 100 (The Mill), pp.
82-83.
Quodbach, “‘The Last of the American Versailles’,”
pp. 83-84.
Quodbach, “‘The Last of the American Versailles’,” p.
83. Wheelock, Dutch Paintings of the Seventeenth Century, pp.
230-241; Ben Broos, Great Dutch Paintings from America,
exh. cat. (The Hague: Mauritshuis, 1990-1991; San
Francisco: the Fine Arts Museums, 1991), p. 122.
For a biography of Lansdowne, Thomas W. Legh
Lord Newton, Lord Lansdowne. A Biography by Lord
Newton (Edinburgh: R. and R. Clark, 1929) and Hugh
Cecil, Lord Lansdowne. From the Entente Cordiale of 1904
to the ‘Peace Letter’ of 1917: a European Statesman Assessed
(London: Foreign & Commonwealth Office, 2004).
Cecil, Lord Lansdowne, p. 7.
Cecil, Lord Lansdowne, p. 7.
Cecil, Lord Lansdowne, p. 12.
The General Election of December 1910 had resulted
in a deadlock and the Liberals succeeded in forming
a government only because of their alliance with
the Irish Nationalists. See Neal Blewett, The Peers, the
Parties and the People; the General Election of 1910 (London:
Macmillan, 1972), pp. 85-102.
For Lansdowne’s activity as National Gallery trustee,
see Andrea Geddes Poole, Stewards of the Nation’s
Art: Contested Cultural Authority 1890–1939 (Toronto:
University of Toronto Press), pp. 82-83.
Geddes Poole, Stewards of the Nation’s Art, pp. 41-45.
Legh, Lord Lansdowne, p. 488.
Rollin van N. Hadley, The Letters of Bernard Berenson and
Isabella Stewart Gardner 1887-1924 (Boston: Northeastern
University Press, 1987), nos. 356 and 486, pp. 75-81.
Waddesdon Manor, Colnaghi Archive: COL1/4/8,
Colnaghi Letter Book, fol. 26.
Quodbach, “‘The Last of the American Versailles’,” p.
83. “News in Brief,” Times, 6 March 1911, p. 6.
London, National Gallery Archive: NG7/389/1,
Carlisle to Turner, 16 February 1911.
19. National Gallery Archives: NGBM, 21 February 1911,
p. 47. Carlisle, Heseltine, Plymouth and Redesdale, plus
the Keeper and Secretary were present.
20. National Gallery Archives: NGBM, 14 March 1911,
pp. 49-50.
21. National Gallery Archives: NGBM, pp. 49-50.
22. On the period, George Dangerfield, The Strange Death
of Liberal England, 2nd ed. (New York: Capricorn Books,
1961), with discussion in Michael Brock, “The Strange
Death of Liberal England,” Albion 17 (1985): pp.
425-447; Elie Halévy, The Rule of Democracy, 1905-1914
(London: E. Benn Ltd, 1952). Further discussion and
bibliography in David Powell, The Edwardian Crisis:
Britain, 1901-1914 (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1996), pp.
10-38, 44-48 and 201-206. See especially Bruce K.
Murray, The People's Budget: Lloyd George and Liberal Politics
(Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1980), pp. 17-48.
23. Chris Ballinger, “Hedging and Ditching: The
Parliament Act 1911,” Parliamentary History 30 (2011):
pp. 19-32.
24. See “The Parliament Bill” series in The Morning Post,
1-31 March 1911. Murray, The People's Budget, pp. 1748; Ballinger, “Hedging and Ditching,” pp. 19-21.
25. Murray, The Peoples Budget, pp. 17­-34.
26. News of this sale first reported in the Evening Standard,
27 February 1911, and then reported nationally in
newspapers such as the Nottingham Evening Post, the
Dundee Evening Telegraph, the Cork Examiner and many
others. Criticism of Lansdowne in “The Bowood
Rembrandt,” Daily Telegraph, 1 March 1911, p. 5, and
2 March 1911, p. 6; repeated in “A Remonstrance with
Lord Lansdowne,” Manchester Guardian, 2 March 1911,
p. 14 and, especially, “The Lansdowne Rembrandt,”
Manchester Guardian, 3 March 1911, pp. 7-9; and “Art
Treasures and the Nation,” Manchester Guardian, 6
March 1911, p. 6. A rare defence of Lansdowne in
“Lord Lansdowne’s Picture,” Dublin Daily Express, 9
March 1911, p. 4.
27. National Art-Collections Fund Archive, held in the
Tate Archive: National Art-Collections Fund Minute
Book, 27 February 1911, pp. 359-360: Balcarres,
Benson, Sidney Colvin, Herbert Cook, Lionel Cust,
Charles Hercules Read, Isidore Spielmann, A. B.
Terrell, Fred A. White and Robert Witt were present at
the meeting. The attribution to Rembrandt was then
openly disputed by W. Seidlitz, “Rembrandts Mühle,”
Kunst und Künstler 9, 10 July 1911, pp. 550-552.
28. National Art-Collections Fund Archive, held in the
Tate Archive: National Art-Collections Fund Minute
Book, 15 March 1911, p. 361.
29. “Rembrandt’s Mill,” The Burlington Magazine for
Connoisseurs 19/97 (1911): pp. 3-4; “The Passing of
Rembrandt's Mill,” The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs
19/ 98 (1911): p. 66. Also discussed in Helen Rees, “Art
Exports and the Construction of National Heritage in
late-Victorian and Edwardian Great Britain,” History of
Political Economy 31 (1999): pp. 187-208.
30. National Gallery Archive: NG7/389/3, Wallis to
Lansdowne, 3 March 1911.
31. National Gallery Archive: NG7/389/3, Wallis to
Lansdowne, 3 March 1911.
32. National Gallery Archives: NGBM, 14 March 1911,
pp. 49-50.
33. National Gallery Archive: NGA27/23/8/11,
Lansdowne to Lockett Agnew, 2 March 1911.
34. National Gallery Archives: NGBM, 14 March 1911,
pp. 49-50. “Rembrandt’s The Mill,” Times, 7 March
1911, p. 8 announced that the painting was going to be
exhibited at the National Gallery.
35. Frederic De Haenen, “The Mill,” Illustrated London News,
25 March 1911, p. 411. Many newspapers reported
on the crowds that visited the exhibition of the Mill,
for instance, “Crowds Visit the Mill,” Leeds Mercury, 13
March 1911, p. 4;“The Mill,” London Daily News, 13
March 1911, p. 4; a picture of the crowds was published
by in London Daily News, 14 March 1911, p. 12.
36. “Lost to This Country,” Illustrated London News, 11
March 1911, p. 345.
37. “Portraits and World’s News,” Illustrated London News, 18
March 1911, p. 374.
38. “Gainsborough's Portraits of The Linleys,” Times, 2
March 1911, p. 8.
39. “Frick Collection Enriched,” American Art News
9/32 (17 June 1911): p. 1; “A Half Million Paid for
Gainsborough,” Fine Arts Journal 25/ 2 (1911): pp.
95-96.
40. “An important Gainsborough,” American Art News, 10/
10 (16 December 1911): p. 1.
41. Hansard, House of Commons Debates, 9 March 1911,
vol. 22, cc. 1406-1407.
42. Reported in “House of Commons,” Times, 10 March
1911, p. 10.
43. “House of Commons”, p. 10.
44. The press release is reported in National Gallery
Archives: NGBM, 14 March 1911, p. 50. Also
published in Times, 15 March 1911, p. 11.
45. F. Rinder, “The Lansdowne Rembrandt,” Daily London
News, 17 March 1911, p. 5.
46. E. H. Physick, “The Mill,” London Daily News, 20 March
1911, p. 12.
47. Reported in National Gallery Archives: NGBM, 11
April 1911, pp. 53-54. Widener at first denied his
involvement: “I have never thought of making such
a purchase and I do not know who the purchaser is,”
quoted in “Rembrandt’s ‘Mill’,” Times, 31 March 1911,
p. 8. A few days later he confessed, “The Bowood
Rembrandt,” Times, 7 April 1911, p. 8. His collection,
containing seven Rembrandts, was praised in: “Mr.
Widener’s Collection,” Times, 7 April 1911, p. 8.
The politics of masterpieces: the failed attempt to purchase Rembrandt’s The Mill for the National Gallery
147

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