CF STUDIES JOURNAL 07 - Flipbook - Page 63
The collection of Philip John Miles at Leigh Court
The collection of Philip John Miles at Leigh Court
This essay was written during the Covid-19
pandemic, when research libraries were closed. I
ask the indulgence of readers who find that there
are loose ends that have not been properly tied up.
In particular, I would like to have provided more
information about where the paintings from the Miles
collection are now, and about their current critical
See John Young, A Catalogue of the Pictures at Leigh
Court near Bristol, the Seat of Philip John Miles, Esq. M.P.
(London: The Proprietor, 1822). The other four
catalogued the Grosvenor (1820), Leicester (1821),
Angerstein (1823), and Stafford (1825) collections.
For a recent concise account of the Miles collection,
see Nicholas Penny, National Gallery Catalogues: The
Sixteenth Century Italian Paintings, II: Venice 1540-1600
(London: National Gallery, 2008), p.76.
Young, Catalogue, unpaginated introduction.
A full set of separately printed etchings was acquired
by the British Museum in 1863.
G. F. Waagen, Art and Artists in England, 3 vols.
(London: John Murray, 1838), III, pp. 134-147.
For Miles’s biography, see William Evans, Abbots
Leigh. A Village History (Bristol: Abbots Leigh Civic
Society, 2002), pp. 42-44, 53-4; Kenneth Morgan,
“Miles, Philip John,” in Oxford Dictionary of National
Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004),
available online at https://www.oxforddnb.com/
The documents were sold at auction by Greenslade
Taylor Hunt at Taunton, 2 June 2017. After Abolition
Miles claimed £36,000 in compensation for the
loss of 1700 slaves: see Madge Dresser, “Slavery
and West Country houses”, in Slavery and the British
Country House, eds. Madge Dresser and Andrew
Hann (Swindon: English Heritage, 2013), pp. 29-42
(especially p. 33). His estates, numbers of slaves, and
compensation claims in 1835-1836 are itemized in the
online Legacies of British Slave-Ownership database,
University College, London.
Evans, Abbots Leigh, p. 54.
Evans, Abbots Leigh, pp. 44-45.
Evans, Abbots Leigh, pp. 51-52.
Robert Cooke, West Country Houses (Bristol: R. Cooke,
1957), pp. 155-158; Evans, Abbots Leigh, pp. 45-48.
John Chilcott, Descriptive History of Bristol, Ancient and
Modern, 3rd ed. (Bristol: J. Chilcott, 1835), p. 316;
Waagen, Art and Artists, p. 134.
John Rutter, Delineations of the North Western Division
of the County of Somerset (Shaftesbury: J. Rutter, 1829),
Dresser, “Slavery,” pp. 29, 41.
Rutter, Delineations, pp. 262-270; Chilcott, Descriptive
History, pp. 316-321.
The Diary of Joseph Farington, eds. Kenneth Garlick
and Angus Macintyre (vols. 1-6) and Kathryn Cave
(vols. 7-15), 16 vols. (New Haven and London: Paul
Mellon Centre, 1978-1984), VI, p. 78; VII, p. 142 (7
January 1813). See also Catherine Roach, Pictureswithin-Pictures in Nineteenth-Century Britain (London and
New York: Routledge, 2016), pp. 40-44.
Exhibited at the RA in 1810, no. 92. See Farington,
Diary, X, pp. 3625-8, 3675-6 (3, 6, 7 April and 26, 27
June 1810); Helmut von Erffa and Allen Staley, The
Paintings of Benjamin West (New Haven and London:
Yale University Press, 1986), pp. 342-343; Christie’s,
London, 9 July 2008, lot 211.
Anna Eliza Bray, Life of Thomas Stothard (London:
John Murray, 1851), pp. 235, 140.
Peter Coxe, 1 June 1814. See the note on this sale by
Burton Fredericksen in the online Getty Provenance
Index at https://piprod.getty.edu/starweb/pi/servlet.
starweb (accessed July 2020).
The exact date of the transaction with Miles is
unknown, but the year 1816 is provided by Rutter,
Delineations, p. 264.
Young, Catalogue, respectively nos. 39 (bought by Hart
Davis in Italy; described by Waagen as a “superior
copy”); 38 (described by Waagen as “later than
Leonardo”); 5 (brought from Paris by Delahante, who
sold it to Hart Davis). For the last, until recently in
the Christie collection at Glyndebourne, see Francis
Russell in The Treasure Houses of Britain. Five Hundred
Years of Private Patronage and Art Collecting, ed. Gervase
Jackson-Stops, exh. cat. (Washington, DC: National
Gallery of Art, 1985), pp. 562-563.
Young, Catalogue, respectively nos. 2 and 7 (the
“Altieri Claudes”); no. 28 (acquired by Hart Davis
from Walsh Porter); nos.13, 40, 43. The three
Dughets are now in the National Gallery, London; in
the Museo de Arte de Ponce, Puerto Rico; and in the
Seattle Museum of Art.
Young, Catalogue, no. 1. Formerly Kaiser-FriedrichMuseum, Berlin; destroyed 1945.
Young, Catalogue, no. 50.
Young, Catalogue, no. 25.
Young, Catalogue, no. 4. Young says that it had
belonged to West, and although he does not mention
Hart Davis in this connection, Abraham Hume,
Notices of the Life and Work of Titian (London: John
Rodwell and Colnaghi, 1829), p. 65, reports that
West sold it to him for £4000. Hume also reports
that the painting had previously been in the
Orléans collection. For reasons too complicated to
be discussed here, this latter assertion is open to
doubt; it may be observed, however, that Young is
unlikely to have failed to refer to so very prestigious
a provenance. Another ex-Hart Davis painting not
identified as such by Young is Pedro Campaña’s
Conversion of Mary Magdalene in the National Gallery:
see Penny, National Gallery Catalogues, p. 76.
Lots 41 and 38 in the Hart Davis sale correspond
closely to Young, Catalogue, nos. 36 and 35; the Miles
sale catalogue of 1884 (Christie’s, 28 June, lot 48)
confirms the Hart Davis provenance of the Potter.
Lot 26 in the Hart Davis sale (“Dou, Head of a Rabbi”)
also corresponds closely to Young, Catalogue, no. 58
(“Rembrandt, Jewish Rabbi”), suggesting that this,
too, may have come from Hart Davis. It is also worth
noting that the 1814 sale included, as lot 11, a smallscale version of Van Dyck’s equestrian portrait of
Charles I now in the National Gallery. This is not
listed in Young’s catalogue, but in Rowbotham’s
watercolour just such a picture is represented on a
stand next to the fireplace. In the Miles sale of 1899
(Christie’s, 13 May, lot 31) this is listed as a copy by
Bernard Lens after Van Dyck.
28. Young, Catalogue, nos. 21, 23, 3.
29. Marten G. Buist, At Spes Non Fracta. Hope & Co. 17701815 (The Hague: Bank, Mees, & Hope, 1974), pp.
30. See the note on this sale by Burton Fredericksen in
the online Getty Provenance Index as at note 19.
31. Lot 99; Young, Catalogue, no. 6. This work had
already been one of the most highly valued in the
Hope collection in a valuation of 1795: see Buist, At
Spes, p. 489.
32. Young, Catalogue, nos. 16, 19, 73 (the last as Death of
33. Blatchford sale, 27 August 1816.
34. Lot 1132; Young, Catalogue, no. 74; Lionel Cust,
“Notes on pictures in the Royal Collection,” Burlington
Magazine 18 (1910): p. 12.
35. Lots 1140-1141; Young, Catalogue, nos. 69-70. By the
time of the Miles sale in 1884 (Christie’s, 28 June, lots
25-26) these had been reattributed to Guardi.
36. Phillips, 30-31 May 1817, lots 44, 54, 24, 112, 55
respectively; possibly identifiable with Young,
Catalogue, nos. 15, 63, 77, 75, 64. In composition the
Crucifixion corresponded closely to that of the version
by Marcello Venusti now on loan from Campion
Hall, Oxford, to the Ashmolean Museum: for which
see Carmen Bambach, Michelangelo exh. cat. (New
York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2017),
pp. 222, 309. This version was likewise brought to
England at the beginning of the nineteenth century,
but it was subsequently in the Ashburnham collection,
and cannot be identical with the Miles version.
37. Evans, Abbots Leigh, p. 49.
38. Young, Catalogue, nos. 60, 39, 15, 59, 22, 64, all as
39. Young, Catalogue, no. 14 (as Grace Triumphing over Sin,
by Parmigianino); now Ashmolean Museum, Oxford
(as Allegory of the Immaculate Conception, by Vasari)
40. Young, Catalogue, nos. 62, 32.
41. Young, Catalogue, nos. 13, 51-52, 30.
42. Sale at Peter Coxe, 23 April 1807, lot 40 (“The Virgin
with the Infant Saviour in the Clouds, with Saint
John the Evangelist and Saint Jerome – this striking
and beautiful Picture was arrested in its course from
Genoa to Marseilles, by an English Cruiser, (as it was
consigned to Paris for Bonaparte’s Cabinet,) and was
publickly sold as part of the Prize for the benefit of the
Captors”), bought by Hope; Young, Catalogue, no. 44.
43. For the following, see William Buchanan, Memoirs of
Painting (London: R. Ackermann, 1824), II, pp. 30-31;
W. T. Whitley, Art in England (Cambridge: University
Press, 1928), II, 358; Luke Herrmann, The English as
Collectors, 2nd ed. (London: The Lyons Press, 1999), pp.
163-167; Francis Russell in Treasure Houses of Britain,
44. My thanks to Timothy Newbery for confirming this.
45. This conforms to what has been dubbed the
“Picturesque” hang: see Giles Waterfield, “Picture
hanging and gallery decoration,” in Palaces of Art. Art
Galleries in Britain 1790-1990, ed. Giles Waterfield,
exh. cat. (Dulwich and Edinburgh: Dulwich Art
Gallery and National Gallery of Scotland, 1991), pp.
46. See above, note 26.
47. Rutter, Delineations, p. 263. The bookcases, now at
nearby Clevedon Hall, are still to be seen in situ in a
photograph of 1915: see Cooke, West Country Houses,
Waagen, Works of Art, p. 134.
Rutter, Delineations, p. 263; Chilcott, Descriptive History,
Rutter, Delineations, p. 264.
G. F. Waagen, Treasures of Art in Great Britain (London:
John Murray, 1854), III, pp. 178-186.
See above, note 41.
For public access to picture collections in town and
country houses in this period, see respectively Peter
Humfrey, The Stafford Gallery. The Greatest Art Collection
of Regency London (Norwich: Unicorn Publishing, 2019),
pp. 167-171; Jocelyn Anderson, Touring and Publicizing
England’s Country Houses in the Long Eighteenth Century
(London: Bloomsbury, 2018).
Evans, Abbots Leigh, pp. 57-60.
Sir Philip Miles sale (“Catalogue of the Leigh Court
Gallery”), Christie’s, 28 June 1884, 74 lots; Sir Cecil
Miles sale, Christie’s, 13 May 1899, lots 1-31.