Colnaghi Foundation Journal 01 - Page 126

The Sutherland Gallery at Stafford House:
contents and display
In her Companion to the Most Celebrated Private Galleries of
Art in London of 1844, Anna Jameson provided detailed
accounts of seven great private collections of Old Master
paintings in early Victorian London, arranging them in
approximate order of prestige. In third place, after the
picture galleries at Buckingham Palace and Bridgewater
House, she discussed the Sutherland Gallery at Stafford
House, outlining its history, the character of the
collection, and the way in which it was displayed. As
she explained in her introduction to the Gallery:
Fig. 1 / Thomas Phillips,
Portrait of 2nd Marquess
of Stafford, oil on canvas,
72.4 x 58.4 cm, London,
National Portrait Gallery.
On the death of the late Duke of
Sutherland, in 1833, the family pictures,
and those acquired by him when Earl
Gower and Marquess of Stafford, fell
to his eldest son, the present Duke. This
collection, properly the Sutherland
Gallery, has recently been enlarged by the
purchase of several grand and interesting
pictures, and is now arranged in the
Duke’s magnificent mansion, or rather
palace, principally in a gallery built for
their reception; while the cabinet pictures
and the Dutch masters, are distributed
through the apartments…The picture
gallery at Stafford House, is not only the
most magnificent room in London, but is
also excellently adapted to its purpose, in
the management of the light, and in the
style of the decoration.1
Jameson went on to draw attention to a number of
highlights of the Gallery, including major works by
Moroni, Guercino, Van Dyck and Murillo, as well as by
her close contemporary Paul Delaroche. Analyzing the
strengths and weaknesses of the collection as a whole,
she noted the absence of anything of significance by
Rubens and Rembrandt, but emphasized its unusually
strong holdings in Spanish painting. Finally, she
provided a more-or-less complete list of 192 paintings
in the collection, arranged by school.
The Sutherland Gallery had been inaugurated just
three years earlier, in 1841. It was conceived by the
1st Duke, George Granville Leveson-Gower (17581833; styled Earl Gower, 1786-1803, and 2nd Marquess
of Stafford, 1803-33) (fig. 1), who had bought the
half-completed York House in 1827, and renamed
it Stafford House. Then, after his death in 1833, the
“magnificent mansion” and its picture gallery were
brought to fruition by his elder son, the 2nd Duke,
likewise George Granville Leveson-Gower (17861861; styled Earl Gower, 1803-33) (fig. 2). It survived
in the form admired by Mrs Jameson – and soon
afterwards by Gustav Friedrich Waagen2 – throughout
the Victorian and Edwardian periods, but its contents
were dispersed soon before the First World War. At
the same time, Stafford House itself was sold by the 4th
Duke to the soap manufacturer Sir William Lever (later
Lord Leverhulme), who renamed it Lancaster House.
Occupying a highly prestigious site on the corner of
Green Park and The Mall, the house is now managed
by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Unlike
most of the picture galleries in aristocratic town houses
of the period, the Gallery survives with its original
architectural spaces and decoration intact, although in


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