Colnaghi Foundation Journal 01 - Page 106

Martin Colnaghi and the National Gallery
Colnaghi, died and in her will she noted that “whatever
money I may die possessed of shall devolve to my son
Dominic Colnaghi for the following purpose that is
to say that he shall well and truly pay or cause to be
paid to each of my seven grandchildren now alive the
offspring of my said son Martin Colnaghi the sum of
one hundred pounds on each of them attaining their
age of twenty one years…” These quotations are cited
in the manuscript by Phyllis Willmot now in the NGA
(see note 8 above).
Ripps has noted that when “Martin Sr.’s interests in
the firm Colnaghi & Puckle passed to Mr. Puckle alone
in 1845, all doors in the trade seemed barred to M.H.
[Colnaghi]” (Ripps, Picture Dealers, p. 34).
Henry Graves went into partnership with Richard
Hodgson between 1834 and 1841. This partnership
achieved some success for it could afford to buy the
old stock of Martin Colnaghi Senior in February
1839. See Susanna Avery-Quash, “Graves family (per.
c.1812-1892),” in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
(Oxford, 2004), accessed 21 May 2017, http://dx.doi.
See Ellis Waterhouse, The James A. de Rothschild Collection
at Waddesdon Manor: Paintings (Fribourg: Office du livre,
and London: National Trust, 1967), pp. 307-308,
nos. 154 & 155. Waterhouse notes (p. 308): “There
is a tradition that these two pictures were presented
by Louis XVI to Louis-Félix de Félix, Maréchal du
Muy, who was made Minister of War and a Maréchal
de France in 1774, but died without issue in 1775.
They remained at the Château of the du Muy family
near Marseilles until the death of Ferdinand de Félix,
marquis du Muy in 1859, when they were bought by
Martin Colnaghi; see The Art Journal (1876): p. 222. He
imported them to England and put them up for sale
anonymously 18 June 1859 (92) but bought them in for
1,450 guineas. In 1876 Martin Colnaghi took Flatou’s
Gallery, no. 11, Haymarket, and renamed it the
Guardi Galleries after these pictures, which he showed
there in 1876. Soon afterwards he sold them to Baron
Ferdinand.” The pair of pictures is now at Waddesdon
Manor, inv. 2212.1 and 2212.2. I am grateful to
Charles Sebag-Montefiore for this reference.
See The Athenaeum, 3 June 1876, p. 749: “M. Martin
Colnaghi has the honour to inform lovers of Art that
the Two grand Gallery Works painted for Louis XVI.
by Francesco Guardi, Views on the Grand Canal,
Venice, will be on view, on and after that 6th of June, at
the Guardi Gallery, No. 11, Haymarket. – Admission,
one shilling.” See also the same information publicized
in “Fine-Art Gossip”, Athenaeum, 3 June 1876, p. 773.
The gallery known today as Marlborough Fine Arts,
situated in Albemarle Street, London, is unrelated
to Martin Colnaghi’s business. It was founded in
1946 by Frank Lloyd and Harry Fischer who had
emigrated from Vienna to England shortly after the
outbreak of WWII. They were joined in 1947 by
David Somerset, later Duke of Beaufort. In 1960 it
opened a second gallery, Marlborough New York, and
it now has additional outlets in Rome, Zurich, Tokyo,
Madrid and Monaco. It has focused on showcasing
the work of modern masters and contemporary artists.
See their website, accessed 7 July 2017, http://www. See the main text
for information about a third gallery bearing the same
Martin Colnaghi and the National Gallery
name – Max Rothschild’s ‘Marlborough Gallery’,
located at 34 Duke Street, London.
See “Art Exhibitions,” The Times, 22 March 1887, p. 4,
which noted: “A few doors further up the Haymarket is
Mr. Martin Colnaghi’s exhibition of modern pictures,
re-organized and set in order in consequence of his
having removed his collection of Old Masters to the
Marlborough Gallery at the west end of Pall-mall”. See
also two identical advertisements in The Times, 3 June
1887, p. 2 and 10 June 1887, p. 2: “The Marlborough
Gallery, 53, Pall-mall, – Notice. – Mr. Martin Colnaghi
begs to inform the patrons of art that the above gallery
will in future be devoted to the exhibition of Old
See a notice in The Times, 9 February 1889, p. 1: “Mr.
Martin Colnaghi, owing to mistakes which are daily
occurring, begs to give notice that he has no other
address but the Marlborough Gallery, 53, Pall-mall
(nearly opposite Marlborough-house).” Identical
announcements continued to be posted in the same
paper throughout February and March that year (see
The Times, p. 1, for 11, 20, 21, 22, 26 and 27 February
and 1, 5, 7, 19, 22 and 30 March 1889). See also the
following notice about the Horsley portrait of Martin
Colnaghi from the St James’s Gazette, 10 April 1889, p.
5: “Mr Horsley will have only one portrait, that of Mr.
Martin Colnaghi, the famous connoisseur, the man who
knows more about old pictures than probably any man
in England: Mr. Colnaghi, that is to say, from opposite
Marlborough House, and in no way connected with the
Messrs. Paul and Dominic Colnaghi of Pall-mall 1.” I
am grateful to Julia Armstrong-Totten for drawing this
reference to my attention.
While “Colnaghi & Co” bought 42 paintings at
the Northwick sale of 1859, “Martin H. Colnaghi”
bought the following five pictures from it: (1) lot 443
(misprinted as 434): Hoppner, A full-length portrait
of George the Fourth when Prince of Wales, in his robes of
State for £27.16.0; (2) lot 844: Kranach [sic], Lucas:
Portrait of the Elector of Saxony for £3.13.6; (3) lot 890:
Unattributed, Portrait of Saint Louis IX, King of France.
He is represented standing, holding a sceptre, habited in a gold
suit of armour; two female saints are kneeling at his feet for
£6.16.6; (4) lot 905: Pourbus, F., Virgin and Child seated,
with a Temple in the background, and in front portraits of Henry
the Fourth of France, his family, and distinguished personages
of his Court for £52.10.0; and (5) lot 914: Wohlgemuth,
The Flight into Egypt for £14.3.6. I am most grateful to
David Addison for sharing this information with me.
The Murillo in question is The Miraculous Conception. See
“Art Sales,” The Times, 18 July 1876, p. 4.
See Charles Eyre Pascoe, London of Today: An Illustrated
Handbook for the Season (Boston: Roberts Brothers,
1885), p. 300, which notes that Martin Colnaghi was
“a constant attendant and buyer at the picture sales
at Christie’s, his name not unfrequently appearing
as a purchaser of more than one work for which
the competition has been keen.” The writer of
the obituary in the Daily Telegraph, 29 June 1908,
concluded: “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.”
See Mark A. Westgarth, A Biographical Dictionary
of Nineteenth Century Antique and Curiosity Dealers (Glasgow:
The Regional Furniture Society, 2009), p. 82, which
gives details of three of Martin Colnaghi’s fourteen
or so purchases with prices. I am grateful to Mark
Westgarth for drawing this sale to my attention.
See “Miss Hosmer’s ‘The Sentinel of Pompeii’,” The
Times, 10 August 1878, p. 12.
See “Court Circular,” The Times, 4 June 1892, p. 9,
which notes the guests who attended the Private View,
including Sir Frederic Leighton and Mme de Staal.
This aspect of his business was launched at the Guardi
Gallery with an exhibition in the winter of 1877, to
positive press coverage. See “The Guardi Gallery,
Haymarket,” Art Journal (February 1877): p. 56,
which noted: “The Guardi Gallery is devoted to the
exhibition of modern Continental pictures of a high
class; and, from the long experience of its director,
Mr. Martin Colnaghi, the public may look upon this
as the first in a series of pictorial gatherings which
will widen their knowledge and improve their taste.”
On one occasion, in 1892, Martin Colnaghi mounted
an exhibition of copies after works by Velazquez
by the contemporary Spanish painter, José Pineda
(“Velazquez,” The Times, 10 May 1892, p. 13). Other
exhibitions of Continental art at the Guardi Gallery
followed. For instance, see “Some Foreign Pictures,”
The Times, 6 February 1879, p. 11, which highlighted
the French-based Viennese-born Charlemont’s Guard
of the Alhambra. See also the advertisement posted in
The Times, 4 June 1881, p. 2: “Mr. Martin Colnaghi
(Guardi Gallery, 11, Haymarket), begs to inform the
lovers of art that his Fifth Summer Exhibition contains
works by the great colourist Hermann Philips, others
by Domingo and Charlemont, and by the young
Spanish painter José Benlliure. Open daily, from 10 till
dusk.” See also “Art Exhibitions,” The Times, 22 March
1887, p. 4, which noted Martin Colnaghi’s display
of works by Domingo, Arthur Hacker, Munkacsy,
Troyon, and Bochmann; “Paintings of the Royal
Family,” The Times, 12 May 1888, p. 8, which noted
a portrait of the Emperor William by Schmiechen
as being on view at the Marlborough Gallery; “The
Marlborough Gallery,” The Times, 1 August 1889,
p. 3, where a short paragraph was dedicated to “Mr.
Martin Colnaghi’s collection of modern pictures of the
various Continental schools, together with Sir Edwin
Landseer’s capital portrait of the terrier ‘Jocko’.” Of
the foreign painters represented in this 1889 exhibition,
the critic mentioned “Professor Müller, of Vienna, the
young Serbian artists Joanowitz, the very accomplished
colourist Herman Philips, Professor Holmberg, of
Munich, the Spaniard Domingo, and the German
Seiler” as well as pictures by two French painters,
Troyon and Roybet. Comparatively few contemporary
British artists were patronized by Martin Colnaghi.
One was George Earl, whose Polo Match at Hurlingham
was shown by Martin Colnaghi in July 1878 (The Times,
26 July 1878, p. 1). The same painter’s Field Trail, when
displayed by Martin Colnaghi in 1884, was noted as
being of “a very respectable standard” yet not “high
art” (“Art Exhibitions,” The Times, 23 June 1884, p. 10.)
For instance, see The Times, 11 January 1883, p. 1:
“Mr. Martin Colnaghi has the honour to announce
the Exhibition of the Portrait of His Highness the
Maharajah Duleep Singh, painted by J. A. Goldingham,
Esq. On View daily, from 10 till dusk.- Guardi Gallery,
11, Haymarket.” See also “Personal, &c.,” The Times, 3
May 1895, p. 1: “Notice. – Mr. Martin Colnaghi begs
to announce that the Private View of Professor Hans
Makart’s celebrated picture of the ‘Triumph of Ariadne’
will take place on Saturday, May 4th, at the Marlborough
Gallery, 53, Pall-mall (nearly opposite Marlborough
House), from 11 till dusk.”
See Susan Casteras and Colleen Denney, eds., The
Grosvenor Gallery: A Palace of Art in Victorian England
(New Haven and London: Yale University Press,
1996), pp. vii-viii, 1-2, and especially Allen Staley,
“’Art Is upon the Town!’ The Grosvenor Gallery
Winter Exhibitions,” in Casteras and Denney, The
Grosvenor Gallery, pp. 59-74. Staley’s remark (p. 64)
that the Guardi Gallery was “an antecedent of the
modern Colnaghi’s” is not strictly correct as this
article demonstrates – P. & D. Colnaghi’s was.
“The Winter Exhibitions,” Art Journal (1878): pp. 1316, 53-56, 90-92. The other exhibitions cited included
those at the French Gallery, the Everard Galleries, the
Fine Art Society, The McClean Gallery, Mr. Tooth’s
Gallery, the Society of British Artists, the Dudley
Gallery, the Old Water-Colour Society, the New WaterColour Society, the Burlington Fine Arts Club, and the
Royal Academy.
For instance, in 1887 Martin Colnaghi lent, among
other works, a rare oil painting by Samuel Prout to the
annual Winter Exhibition (“The Winter Exhibition
at Burlington House,” The Times, 11 January 1887, p.
8); in 1889 he lent Rubens’s Marriage of Mars and Venus
(“Winter Exhibition at Burlington House,” The Times,
25 January 1889, p. 13); in 1892 he lent a Claude
described as Embarcation [sic] of St. Paula from the Port of
Ostia (“Old Masters at Burlington House,” The Times,
11 January 1892, p. 4); in 1893 he lent the Hobbema
Interior with Figures that he had recently acquired from
the Dudley sale (“Old Masters at Burlington House,”
The Times, 16 January 1893, p. 10); in 1895 he lent
Van Goyen’s View of Dort (“Old Masters at BurlingtonHouse,” The Times, 10 January 1895, p. 8); and in
1902 he lent Wouwerman’s Landscape with Figures (“Old
Masters at Burlington House,” The Times, 21 January
1902, p. 15). Of the four pictures that Martin Colnaghi
bequeathed to the National Gallery, three had been
loaned by him to the Royal Academy’s Winter
Exhibitions: (1) the Lorenzo Lotto (NG2281) in 1908;
(2) the Gainsborough (originally NG2284; now Tate
N02284) in 1892, as well as to the Guildhall in 1902;
and (3) the Van der Neer (NG2283) in 1893. None of
these Burlington House loans were noted by The Times.
Martin Colnaghi lent to the New Gallery, in 1897,
a portrait of a lady by Cornelius Janson (“The New
Gallery,” The Times, 31 December 1897, p. 6).
(1) Carlo Crivelli: Samuel H. Kress Collection, inv.
no. 1952.5.6; according to provenance information
on the Met’s website: “… William Ward, 1st Earl of
Dudley [1817-1885, created Earl 1860], Witley Court,
Worcestershire, by 1851; (his sale, Christie, Manson
& Woods, London, 7 April 1876, no. 135 [same lot as
four other panels from Porto San Giórgio polyptych]);
purchased by (Martin Colnaghi, London). Sir Francis
Cook, 1st Bt. [1817-1901], Doughty House, Richmond,
Surrey…”. (2) Vassallo: Samuel H. Kress Collection,
inv. no.1961.9.91; according to provenance information
on the Met’s website: “…Reginald Cholmondely,
Condover Hall, by 1876; (his sale, Christie, Manson
& Woods, London, 6 March 1897, no. 66, as by
Velázquez); bought by Martin Colnaghi for Sir John
Charles Robinson [1824-1913], London, buying for
Sir Francis Cook, 1st Bt. [1817-1901], Doughty House,
Richmond, Surrey…”. (3) Prob. Studio of Peter Lely:
Timken Collection, inv. no. 1960.6.26: according to
provenance information on the Met’s website: “…
Sir Henry-Hope Edwardes, 10th Bt., Wootton Hall,
Ashbourne, Derbyshire; (sale, Christie, Manson &
Woods, London, 27 April 1901, no. 11); Martin H.
Colnaghi [d. 1908], London; sold 1908 to (Thos.
Agnew & Sons, London), in joint account with (Wallis
& Son, London);….” (4) Guardi: Samuel H. Kress
Collection, inv. no.1943.4.50; according to provenance
information on the Met’s website: “… Possibly (sale,
Christie, Manson & Woods, London, 31 May 1902, no.
101). (Martin Colnaghi [1821-1908], London). George
A. Hearn, New York [d. 1913]; (his sale, American Art
Galleries, New York, 25 February-4 March 1918, no.
446); purchased by (O. Bernet)….”
What follows is a list of the dealer’s reported purchases
from important sales (attributions and titles as per
the contemporary reports). He bought at the 1886
Blenheim Palace sale a full-length portrait of Philip
II attributed to Titian for £99. 15s. and Albertinelli’s
Holy Family for £8 8s. (“The Blenheim Collection,”
The Times, 2 August 1886, p. 10, and 9 August 1886,
p. 4). He bought four paintings from the CavendishBentinck Collection of 1891: “by J. Ruysadel, with
figures by N. Berchem, a chef d’oeuvre signed by both
artists – 550 guineas”; Guardi’s “Venice, looking across the
Grand Canal towards the Dogana Vecchia and St. Maria della
Salute – 730 guineas”; “an interior [by Longhi], with
lady, gentleman and three attendants – 105 guineas”;
and Moretto Da Brescia’s Virgin and Child for 100
guineas (“Sale of the Cavendish-Bentinck Collection,”
The Times, 13 July 1891, p. 13). In 1882 he purchased
at the Hamilton Palace sale a Rembrandt self-portrait
for £703. 10s, and a landscape by Jacob Ruysdael
for £1,218 (“The Hamilton Palace Collection,” The
Times, 19 June 1882, p. 7). In 1892 he bought at
the Egremont sale Rigaud’s half-length portrait of
Cardinal Dubois for 240 guineas; a portrait of Miss
Frances Harford, the mother of George, fourth Earl of
Egremont for 1,200 guineas; and The Betrayal of Christ
by Vandyck (“Sale of the Egremont Pictures,” The
Times, 23 May 1892, p. 4, and 28 November 1892, p.
11). That same year he purchased from the Dudley
sale a Portrait of Abraham de Notte by M. Fabritius for 195
guineas and a Hobbema for 2,300 guineas (The Times,
27 June 1892, p. 8).
See Linda Wolk-Simon, “Raphael at the Metropolitan:
The Colonna Altarpiece,” The Metropolitan Museum of
Art Bulletin 63, no. 4 (Spring 2006), pp.5-62, accessed
21 May 2017,
colonna_altarpiece. Wolk- Simon (p. 52) notes that
Lord Ashburnham was the agent in London for the
Duke of Castro; it was with the latter that Martin
Colnaghi had dealings. See also the account of this
episode in Martin Colnaghi’s obituary in the Daily
Telegraph, 29 June 1908.
Wolk-Simon, “Raphael at the Metropolitan”, p. 62,
note 82, notes that the National Gallery agreed to the
loan of the picture in 1871 “on condition that it shall
not be understood as implying intention on the part of
Her Majesty’s Government to purchase the picture”
and that (p. 52) during the loan period it had been
stored in the basement at Trafalgar Square, before
being transferred to the South Kensington Museum.
See “The Colonna Raphael,” The Times, 27 July 1896,
p. 10. The report noted that the work had “been
purchased from the representatives of the late King of
Naples by Mr. Martin Colnaghi, of the Marlborough
Gallery, Pall-mall”, that it had been cleaned, and that
“the authorities of the National Gallery are seriously
considering the question of the purchase of the picture,
now that they are satisfied as to its condition; especially
as it is offered to them at a very different price from
that paid for the Ansidei Madonna from Blenheim, to
which this is no whit inferior.” Archival documentation
at the National Gallery tells a different story. For letters
regarding the delivery of the picture to the National
Gallery and its subsequent transfer to the South
Kensington Museum in 1886, see NGA: NG7/83/1-4,
NG7/84/5-6, NG7/85/4; and for a letter from Lord
Ashburnham in December 1895 offering the Colonna
Raphael for sale at the price of £25,000 (refused), see
NGA: NG7/88/4.
For further details regarding the picture’s provenance,
see the Met’s website, accessed 7 July 2017, http://
For a description of Martin Colnaghi’s restoration of
the Colonna Raphael, see Wolk-Simon, “Raphael at
the Metropolitan”, p. 53.
Many of Martin Colnaghi’s Dutch pictures were
acquired from modest collections. To take his
purchases in a single year, by way of example, in 1894
he bought: A Merry-Making by Jan Steen for £567
10s. from the collection of Mr D. P. Sellar (“Sale of
Pictures,” The Times, 20 March 1894, p. 9); Head of an
old Woman by B. Denner for 345 guineas – as well as
A Girl with Pigs by Gainsborough for 800 guineas – at
a Christie’s sale “of the collection of English pictures
formed by the late Mr. John Gibbons, of Hanoverterrace, Regent’s-park” (“Sale of Pictures,” The Times,
28 May 1894, p. 11); and G. Terburg’s Drinking the
King’s Health for 1,060 guineas from the Savill-Onley
Collection, Christie’s, May 1894 (“Sale of Pictures,”
The Times, 18 June 1894, p. 3).
For a comprehensive account of John Smith, see
Charles Sebag-Montefiore with Julia ArmstrongTotten, A Dynasty of Dealers: John Smith and Successors,
1801-1924 (London: The Roxburghe Club, 2013).
Smith’s clients included the Prince Regent (later
George IV), the Duke of Wellington, Lords Bute,
Lansdowne and Northwick, Sir Robert Peel, Sir
Charles Bagot, Ralph Bernal and William Beckford, as
well as members of the Baring, Hope and Rothschild
banking families. Additionally, the firm had curatorial
responsibility over three generations for the picture
collections of both Lord Ellesmere at Bridgewater
House, St James’s, and of Lord Ashburton at Bath
House, Piccadilly. The Smiths owned Vermeer’s Woman
Reading a Letter now in the Rijksmuseum (inv. no. SK-C251) and Smith’s eldest son also purchased Vermeer’s
Girl Interrupted at her Music in 1853 at the Woodburn sale


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