The Ca’ Capello Layard and its art collection: a forgotten Anglo-Venetian treasure house of the late nineteenth-century
of The Magazine of Art,” La Chronique des Arts et de la
Curiosité. Supplément a la Gazette des Beaux Arts, 18 April
1896, p. 149. The same idea was reported in Layard’s
obituary, which appeared in the Venetian newspaper;
“Sir Henry Layard,” Gazzetta di Venezia, 7 July 1894.
“Équivaut, en un sens, à une garantie”. Review of The
Magazine of Art, p. 149.
See London, National Art Library: MSL/1952/1315:
Fine Arts Club. Minute book from 1857, fol. 28:
Conversazione at the room of the Arundel Society,
30 January 1861; on the Royal Academy’s loan,
see National Exhibition of Works of Art at Leeds. Official
Catalogue (Leeds: Edward Baines and Sons, 1868);
Exhibition of the works of the Old Masters, Associated with a
Collection from the Works of Charles Robert Leslie, R.A., and
Clarkson Stanfield, R.A. (London: Clowes and sons, 1870),
nos. 16, 54, 62. On the loan to the South Kensington
Museum, see 17th Report of the Science and Art Department
of the Committee of Council on Education (London: G. E.
Eyre-W. Spottiswoode, 1870), p. 379. For the loan
to the National Gallery of Ireland, evidence can
be gleaned from Layard’s correspondence with the
director of the museum, Henry Doyle, and from the
documents in Layard’s nominal file, held in the archive
of the Victoria and Albert Museum, MA/1/L561.
The practice to open the doors of the house to a select
audience and present one’s collection derived from
Horace Walpole and William Beckford, and continued
with the members of the Fine Arts Club. The loans of
private collections at the South Kensington Museum
were in a sense a continuation of this tradition, as well
as an opening to a broader public. See Christopher
S. Sykes, Private Palaces: Life in the Great London Houses
(London: Chatto & Windus, 1985), pp. 231-267; David
Pearce, Londons Mansions: the Palatial Houses of the Nobility
(London: B.T. Batsford, 1986), pp. 167-171; Ann
Eatwell, “The Collector’s or Fine Arts Club 1857-1874.
The First Society for Collectors of the Decorative Arts,”
The Decorative Arts Society Journal 18 (1994): pp. 25-30.
John Archer Crowe and Giovanni Battista Cavalcaselle,
A History of Painting in North Italy (London: John Murray,
1871), pp. 63, 78-8, 128, 130, 183, 185, 190, 204-5,
212, 214, 236, 265, 282, 295, 307, 318, 319, 342, 343,
380; Karl Baedeker, Italy. Handbook for Travelers, vol.1
(Leipzig: Karl Baedeker, 1886), p. 262; Karl Karoly,
A Guide to the Paintings of Venice Being an Historical and
Critical Account of all the Pictures in Venice, with Quotations
from the best Authorities and Short Lives of the Venetian Masters
(London: George Belle and Sons, 1895), pp. 161-162;
George Lafenestre and Eugène Richtenberger, La
peinture en Europe. Venise (Paris: Mainson Quantin, 1897),
pp. 303-312. As regards monographs, see Giuseppe
Colombo, Vita ed opere di Gaudenzio Ferrari pittore (Turin:
Fratelli Bocca, 1881), p. 23; Louis Thuasne, Gentile
Bellini et Sultan Mohammed II: notes sur le séjour du peintre
vénitien à Constantinople (1479-1480) (Paris: Leroux,
1888), just to name a few.
Maurice W. Brockwell, “The Layard collection.
Magnificent Bequest to the National Gallery,” Morning
Post, 4 November 1912.
Brockwell, The Layard collection.
NLS: Ms. 42173, fol. 29: E. Rigby to A.H. Layard, 28
October 1890. Also quoted in Sheldon, The Letters, pp.
43. NLS: Ms. 42340, fol. 33: A.H. Layard to E. Rigby,
Venice, 2 November 1890.
44. NLS: Ms. 42340, fol. 33: A.H. Layard to E. Rigby,
Venice, 2 November 1890.
45. Bernard Berenson, The Venetian Painters of the Renaissance,
with an Index to Their Works (New York: Putnam, 1894),
pp. 81, 89, 92, 93, 102, 105, 112, 117, 121, 126, 129,
149. Curiously enough, most of the attributions in the
first index of the Venetian painters corresponded to
those given by Layard, including the Sebastiano del
Piombo and the Carpaccios.
46. T. Latham Johnston, “Mary Berenson and the
conception of connoisseurship” (PhD diss., Indiana
University 2001), pp. 447-448. See also Angela
Emanuel, “Lady Layard and Julia Cartwright,” in
Austen Henry Layard, eds. Fales and Hickey p. 169.
47. An English tour guide reported in 1896: “The Palazzo
Cappello contains many beautiful works of art,
including the celebrated Sultan Mehemet by Gentile
Bellini. The palace, however, is not shown.” Augustus
J. C. Hare, Venice (London: G. Allen, 1896), p. 217.
Nevertheless, a more precise guide specified “Palazzo
Capello (now Layard) containing a fine collection
of pictures of the best masters, especially Venetians.
Admission by personal introduction only”. Hugh A.
Douglas, Venice and her Treasures (London: Methuen,
1909), p. 145.
48. BL: Add. Ms. 50149: Autograph album, 1881-1912.
49. The spouses visited the collection for the first time
on 27 February 1893, and again in 1912; “Mme
Jacquemart André came to see me in the morn[in]
g and more specially to look at the pictures. She has
a fine collection, I believe in Paris & is a painter. She
seemed to enjoy herself & sat down opposite the
different pictures to gaze at them – chatting the while.”
LLJ: 11 April 1912.
50. See Jacob Burckhardt, Der Cicerone: eine Anleitung zum
Genuss der Kunstwerke Italiens, ed. W. von Bode (Leipzig:
E. A. Seemann, 1884), pp. 620, 633, 634, 638, 643,
658, 776; Franz Kugler, Handbook of Painting. The Italian
Schools, ed. Austen Henry Layard, 2 vols. (London:
John Murray, 1887), I, pp. 304; II, pp. 356, 380; Karl
Baedeker, Handbook for Travellers. Northern Italy (Leipzig:
Baedeker, 1895), p. 265. See also LLJ: Ca’ Capello,
Venice, 23 September 1912: “German professors came
with letters of introduction to view the pictures.”
51. NLS: Ms. 42338, fol. 16 A.H. Layard to E. Rigby, 30
October 1880.
52. BL: Vol. XX, Add. Ms. 38950, fol. 73: A. H. Layard to
W.H. Gregory, 6 November 1891.
53. Brockwell, The Layard Collection. Before Morelli
recognized the connection between the painting and
the drawing, the latter was assigned to Titian. See
Giovanni Morelli, Die Werke italienischer Meister in den
Galerien von München, Dresden und Berlin (Leipzig: E.A.
Seemann, 1880), no. 1, p. 254.
54. Sheldon, The Letters, p. 441.
55. LLJ: Ca’ Capello, Venice, 5 April 1895.
56. It seems that Eleonora Duse decided to visit Lady Enid
on account of the very glowing report D’Annunzio
made her. See LLJ: 16-17 October 1897.
57. Pisa, Scuola Normale Superiore, Fondo Adolfo Venturi
(below SNS): Carteggio, VT F2 b38,7. See Ugo Fleres,
“La Pinacoteca dell’Ateneo di Brescia,” Le Gallerie
Nazionali Italiane 3 (1895/1896): pp. 267, 285, 286, 290.
58. LLJ: Venice, 25 May 1908.
59. See LLJ: 17 June 1907.
60. BL: Layard Papers, vol. XIX, Add. Ms. 58167, fol. 23:
H.H. Gibbs to A.H. Layard, 11 November 1885.
61. Lady Gregory’s drawing is kept at the Prints and
Drawings Collection of the National Library of
Ireland, Dublin (inv. PD 3032 TX 35). This pencil
drawing, together with a watercolour representing the
interior of the British Legation at Madrid (reproduced
in Waterfield, Layard of Nineveh, p. 343), are the only
visual sources that testify to its presence in the Layard
62. NGA: NG7/292/13(ii): List of pictures and tapestries
in the possession of A. H. Layard. Manuscript notebook
with descriptive notes of each picture, no. 85, 86.
63. “Illustrer [les tableaux] en rapport à leur mérite et a
l’intérêt qu’ils offrent comme monument de l’art”. BL:
vol. CVI, Add. Ms. 39036, fol. 182: G. Frizzoni to A.
H. Layard, Milano, 16 January 1883.
64. BL: vol. CXIII, Add. Ms. 39043, fol. 73: G. Frizzoni to
A. H. Layard, Milano, 21 November 1888.
65. See BL: vol. XXXIV, Add. Ms. 38967, fol. 188: A. H.
Layard to G. Morelli, Venice, 10 July 1885.
66. For a general overview, see Paola Callegari, Collezioni
d’arte e fotografia artistica nell’Italia del Risorgimento (Rome:
Gangemi, 2010); Nicola Gronchi, La fotografia come
mezzo di riproduzione delle opere d’arte: storia, critica e tecniche
della fotografia d’arte letta attraverso le immagini di Alinari,
Brogi e Anderson (Rome: Aracne Editore, 2016). On
more specific cases, see Marco Mozzo, “Il fondo
fotografico di Cavalcaselle alla Biblioteca Nazionale
Marciana: ricognizione preliminare,” in Gli Archivi
delle Soprintendenze, ed. Anna Maria Spiazzi (Vicenza:
Terra Ferma, 2010), pp. 34-49; Marco Mozzo, “La
raccolta di fotografia d’arte di Henry Thode e Gabriele
D’Annunzio: un progetto di riordino e schedatura
informatica,” Quaderni del Vittoriale 5 (2009): pp. 91-103;
Paola Callegari, Pietro Toesca e la fotografia, “saper vedere”
(Milan: Skira, 2009).
67. “Faire connaître [les œuvres] aux amateurs”. BL: vol.
CVI, Add. Ms. 39036, fol. 182: G. Frizzoni to A. H.
Layard, Milano, 16 January 1883.
68. NGA: NG14/3/6: Affidavit of Robert Clermont Witt,
16 March 1915.
69. He was awarded the “Grande Médaille l’Exposition
de la Société de Photographie à Paris en 1876; Seule
Médaille d’Or et Diplôme à l’Exposition Universelle
de Paris 1878; Seule Médaille d’Or à l’Exposition de
Milan 1881”. For a complete account on his activity,
see Francesca Mambelli, “Giovan Battista Brusa e i
dipinti della collezione Layard,” in I colori del bianco e
nero. Fotografie storiche nella Fototeca Zeri 1870-1920, eds.
Andrea Bacchi et al. (Bologna: Fondazione Federico
Zeri, 2014), pp. 64-70. My thanks to Francesca
Mambelli for exchanging her views with me.
70. Mambelli, Giovan Battista Brusa, pp. 64-70. See Giovanni
Battista Brusa, Photographies éditées (Milan: Tip. E.
Quadrio, 1882).
71. “A ce qui semble M. Brusa s’est tout à fait éclipsé”. BL:
vol. CVI, Add. Ms. 39036, fol. 182: G. Frizzoni to A.
H. Layard, 16 January 1883.
72. BL: vol. CVI, Add. Ms. 39036, fol. 182: G. Frizzoni
to A. H. Layard, 16 January 1883. On Antonio
The Ca’ Capello Layard and its art collection: a forgotten Anglo-Venetian treasure house of the late nineteenth-century
Fortunato Perini (1830-1879), see Federigo M. Zinelli,
Osservazioni intorno alla daguerrotipia, alla fotografia e alla
stereoscopia (Venice: G. Grimaldo, 1859), p. 19; Alberto
Errera, Storia e statistica delle industrie venete e accenni al loro
avvenire (Venice: Antonelli, 1870), p. 483; Italo Zannier,
“Fotografia a Venezia nell’Ottocento,” in Venezia nella
fotografia dell’Ottocento, eds. Paolo Costantini and Italo
Zannier (Venezia: Arsenale Editrice, 1986), p. 20; Paolo
Costantini, “L’immagine di Venezia nella fotografia
dell’Ottocento,” in Venezia nella fotografia, p. 33; John
Hannavy, Encyclopedia of Nineteenth-Century Photography
(New York: Routledge, 2008), pp. 1059-1060.
London, British Museum (hereafter BM), Prints and
Drawings Library: inv. PD10017467. I am grateful to
Hugo Chapman for the assistance with this.
BM, Prints and Drawings Library: Print room register
of purchases and presentation XL (Aug. II 1883-May 13
1886). In addition to these, the Fototeca Federico Zeri,
Bologna, has another fifteen albumens with Brusa’s
stamp on the back (inv. nos. 56889; 58277; 62093;
62113; 62117; 62692; 63125; 64192; 67248; 67562;
67803; 92935; 93061; 933551; 100026), four of which
illustrate different subjects to those in London.
See BL: vol. XXXIV, Add. Ms. 38967, fol. 188: A. H.
Layard to G. Morelli, 10 July 1885.
See BL: vol. CLXVIII, Add. Ms. 39098, fol. 86v: G.
Frizzoni to A. H. Layard, 13 October 1891.
Fratelli Alinari, Venezia e il Veneto: vedute, bassorilievi statue,
quadri, affreschi. Catalogo IV (Florence: Tip. Barbera,
1897), p. 34, no. 13609.
Brown, Sir Henry, p. 219.
On Tomaso Filippi, see Daniele Resini and Myriam
Zerbi, eds., Venezia tra Ottocento e Novecento nelle fotografie di
Tomaso Filippi (Rome: Palombi, 2013).
It was bought by Layard in Madrid. See NGA:
NG7/292/13(ii): no. 87.
See LLJ: Ca’ Capello, Venice, 15-17 September 1897.
“Que Vous ferez photographier de nouveau vos beaux
tableaux quand l’excellent photographe Anderson de
Rome reviendra à Venise”. BL: Vol. CLXX, Add. Ms.
39100, fol. 233: G. Frizzoni to A. H. Layard, Milan, 29
January 1894.
Domenico Anderson, Catalogo delle fotografie di D. Anderson.
Catalogo III: Venezia, Ferrara, Castelfranco, Conegliano,
Fontanellato, Modena, Padova, Parma, Vicenza (Rome:
Tipografia Editrice Romana, 1898), p. 27. Surprisingly,
none of the later articles on the Layard paintings ever
made use of any Anderson photographs, but instead
continued to reproduce those by Alinari or Filippi.
Brown, Sir Henry, p. 223.
“Qui a fourni […] le contingent le plus abondant”.
Frizzoni, La Galerie, p. 456.
“Productions de l’art cultivé dans les régions du BasRhin”. Frizzoni, La Galerie, p. 476.
On this account see, BL: vol. CXIII, Add. Ms.
39043, fol. 87: G. Frizzoni to A. H. Layard, Milan, 13
December 1888. See Fabrizio Lollini, “La nascita di un
nuovo linguaggio,” in Cosmè Tura e Francesco del Cossa: l’arte
a Ferrara nell’età di Borso d’Este, ed. Mauro Natale (Ferrara:
Ferrara Arte, 2007), pp. 241-247. See Fritz von Harck,
“Verzeichnis der Werke des Cosma Tura,” Jahrbuch der
Preußischen Kunstsammlungen 8 (1888): no. 65, p. 38.
W. N. Bruce, ed., Sir A. Henry Layard G.C.B., D.C.L.
Autobiography and Letters from his Childhood until his
Appointment as H. M. Ambassador at Madrid, with a Chapter
on his Parliamentary Career by the RT. Hon. Sir Arthur Otway,
2 vols. (London: John Murray, 1903).
For an analysis of the typewritten catalogue see Cecilia
Riva, “La collezione Layard nel catalogo dattiloscritto
1896,” Predella 35 (2014): pp. 53-78.
For a biography of Venturi, see Giacomo Agosti,
Introduzione al carteggio 1876-1908 (Genova: Pantograf,
1990); Mario D’Onofrio, ed., Adolfo Venturi e la storia
dell’arte oggi (Modena: Panini, 2008), and Venturi,
“La Formazione.” A few copies of the offprint
published in 1913 have survived: one is in the Dutch
University Institute at Florence, the other in Venturi’s
own Library, now at the Istituto Superiore per la
Conservazione ed il Restauro in Rome.
LLJ: 3 Savile Row, 15 July 1901.
The Layards succeeded in visiting the exhibition on 9
June 1894 (see the entry in LLJ). Henry would die a few
weeks later, on 5 July. No documentary evidence can be
found in Venturi’s archive with regards to a letter from
Henry Layard.
LLJ: Venice, 15 January 1894. On the photographer
Carlo Naya and his studio, see Hannavy, Encyclopedia, p.
1145. See the catalogue, Exhibition of Pictures, Drawings,
and Photographs of the Work of the School of Ferrara-Bologna,
1440-1540, also of Medals of Members of the Houses of
Este and Bentivoglio (London: Burlington Fine Arts Club,
1894), pp. xxiv, 22, 38, 43.
On Venturi’s lists of private collections, see Sandra
Sicoli, “1891, una ‘lista di appunti’ per Adolfo Venturi,
il catalogo delle opere private ‘di sommo pregio’ nel
carteggio tra Pasquale Villari ed Emilio Visconti
Venosta,” Arte Lombarda 179/180 (2017): pp. 138-145.
SNS: Taccuini; Taccuino Europeo, fol. 112r, quotes:
“No. 1981. 1120. Piccolo San Girolamo di Cima.
Come quello di Layard!” On Venturi notebooks and
their classification, see Emanuele Pellegrini, “Il viaggio
e la memoria: i taccuini di Adolfo Venturi,” Studi di
Memofonte 6 (2011): pp. 13-38, (pp. 19-27).
LLJ: 3 Savile Row, 17 July 1901.
LLJ: 3 Savile Row, 17 July 1901.
“Catalogo degli oggetti di sommo pregio per la storia
e per l’arte appartenenti a privati”: The disputed
paintings were Jacometto Veneziano, Portrait of a
Man (NG3121); Gentile Bellini, Portrait of Mehmet II
(NG3099); Vittore Carpaccio, The Departure of Saint
Ursula (NG3085); Andrea Busati, The Entombment
(NG3084); Cosmè Tura, Figure of Spring (NG3070);
The Adoration of the Kings attributed to the workshop
of Giovanni Bellini (NG3098), and a Madonna and
Child attributed to Giovanni Bellini (NG3078). For
a detailed account on the issue, see Cecilia Riva,
“‘Un velenoso pasticcio’ made in Italy. Il caso della
donazione Layard,” in Donare allo Stato, eds. Lorenzo
Casini and Emanuele Pellegrini (Bologna: Il Mulino,
2017), pp. 165-173. It is worth mentioning that,
when informing about the new Italian legislation in
1902 and the subsequent Official Catalogue of Valuable
Works of Art in Private Collections (1903), The Connoisseur
illustrated the note exclusively with photographs of
Layard’s paintings. See “Modifications in Italian Art
Legislation,” The Connoisseur 7 (1903): p. 258; and
“Notable collections,” The Connoisseur 8 (1904): pp.
98. Lady Layard had satisfactorily proved that six out of
seven of the disputed paintings had been reimported
to Italy from England. Therefore, on 21 September
1906 the Italian Council of State resolved “to consider
as not inscribed in the Catalogue of objects of great
artistic and historical values in the possession of private
person the pictures of which Lady Layard has the right
of usufruct, with the exception of the Portrait of a Man
by Antonello da Messina [now considered Jacometto],
the inscription of which in the aforesaid catalogue is
confirmed”. See NGA: NG7/315.
99. LLJ: Ca’ Capello, Venice, 7 July 1905.
100. “Amico Carissimo, un anno o due fa, io ti scrissi,
interpellandoti a nome di Lady Layard, se tu fossi
disposto ad assumere l’incarico di redigere il catalogo
della sua galleria, e tu mi rispondesti adesivamente
[sic], proponendomi di stamparli [sic] nell’Arte, con
molte illustrazioni. Lady Layard mi ha ora pregato di
sentire da te se sei sempre dello stesso parere, e quale
sarebbe il modo che vorresti tenere per l’esame dei
quadri, e in qual tempo te ne potresti occupare. Io
poi debbo chiederti più precisamente quale sarebbe
il compenso che tu chiederesti al tuo lavoro, e quale
altresì sarebbe la spesa che esso potrebbe importare
sia nel modo proposto, per la tiratura a parte per Lady
Layard di 100, o di 200 copie; o quale per una edizione
fatta direttamente e non inserita nell’Arte. Ma ritengo
che Lady Layard preferirà il primo modo a risparmio
di spesa di un tutto forse inutile.” SNS: Carteggio: C.
Malagola to A. Venturi, Venice, 19 October 1905. The
underlining is Malagola’s.
101. LLJ: 3 Savile Row, 20 January 1903.
102. “A norma delle intelligenze precorse a mezzo del S.
Prof. Malagola, io son lieta di affidare alla S. V. Ch.a
l’incarico di comporre l’illustrazione storico-artistica
in forma di Catalogo da stamparsi, della Galleria
Layard da me posseduta in Venezia, obbligandomi di
contribuire a titolo di compenso la somma italiana di
lire mille trecento (L. It. 1300). Resta convenuto che
per tal modo io acquisto la proprietà del manoscritto e
di qualsiasi sua traduzione, colla piena facoltà di farlo
stampare e pubblicare colle necessarie illustrazioni
in una o più edizioni, e resta pur convenuto che esso
manoscritto dovrà da Lei essermi effettivamente
consegnato pronto per la stampa, entro il mese di
Dicembre del prossimo anno 1907. Sicura che Ella
farà cosa degna del suo nome.” SNS: Carteggio: E.
Layard to A. Venturi, Venice, 21 October 1906. The
underlining is Lady Layard’s.
103. LLJ: Ca’ Capello, Venice, 21 September 1907.
Curiously enough, her name recurs several times
throughout Venturi’s so-called “Taccuino Pittorico”
(after 1906-before 1910). See SNS: Taccuini: Taccuino
Pittorico, fols. 82r, 84r, 86v. The works associated with
the Layard collection found place also in Venturi’s main
publications; to name just a few, see Adolfo Venturi,
“Maestri ferraresi del Rinascimento,” L’Arte 6 (1903): p.
141; Storia dell’Arte Italiana, 9, 3 (Milan: Hoepli, 1928), p.
437; and La pittura del Quattrocento nell’alta Italia: Lombardia,
Piemonte, Liguria (Bologna: Apollo, 1930), pp. 39-40.
104. LLJ: Rome, 31 March 1908.
105. On the Sterbini collection, Adolfo Venturi, “La
Quadreria Sterbini in Roma,” L’Arte 8 (1905): pp.
422-440; and by the same author, La Galleria Sterbini in


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