Colnaghi Foundation Journal 01 - Page 143

The Sutherland Gallery at Stafford House
The Sutherland Gallery at Stafford House
relatively small landscapes and genre subjects, and had
not included any large-scale history paintings. It is not
clear whether the Duke’s purchase was motivated by
any awareness that Honthorst, like Rubens and Van
Dyck, had worked in London for Charles I.
Fig. 16 / Pierre Subleyras,
Portrait of Pope Benedict XIV,
oil on canvas, 125 x 98 cm,
Chantilly, Musée Condé.
Fig. 17 / Nicolaes Maes,
Young Woman Peeling Apples,
oil on wood, 54.6 x 45.7 cm,
New York, Metropolitan
Museum of Art.
commissions of prestigious copies to adorn their houses
and gardens, including a set of large-scale canvases
after Paolo Veronese by the Venetian painter Giuseppe
Gallo Lorenzi, to decorate the upper story and landing
of the Entrance Hall and Grand Staircase at Stafford
House (in situ), and the above-mentioned full-size
Perseus after Cellini for the garden at Trentham.53 In July
1840, soon after their return and still just before the
inauguration of the Sutherland Gallery the following
year, the Duke resumed his series of major purchases
by buying two works at the Duke of Lucca sale in
London: a Virgin and Child attributed to Raphael’s
pupil Gianfrancesco Penni (untraced); and Honthorst’s
impressive Christ Before the High Priest (London,
National Gallery).54 This latter work was a particularly
significant addition to his inherited collection, since
although the Marquess had always exhibited a marked
taste for Dutch pictures of the seventeenth century,
his acquisitions had consisted almost exclusively of
After the inauguration of the Picture Gallery in 1841
the Duke seems to have bought no other paintings
of any size. At the Strawberry Hill sale in 1842, in
an apparently adventurous shift in taste, he bought a
Marriage of a Saint by an anonymous Flemish master
of the fifteenth century (Toledo, OH, Toledo Museum
of Art);51 yet since this was believed to represent
the Marriage of Henry VI with Margaret of Anjou, the
acquisition was presumably made, like the Lenoir
Collection, more for antiquarian than aesthetic
reasons. More predictably traditional was the Duke’s
purchase in 1847 of a Virgin and Child with the Child
Baptist attributed to Fra Bartolomeo (untraced), a
smallish picture in the Raphaelesque mode, from
George John Morant, son of the frame-maker,
decorator and dealer also called George, who had
worked for the Sutherlands at Stafford House almost
from the beginning. A year earlier, however, likewise
through the younger Morant, the Duke sold five of his
pictures, including two Dutch genre pictures of very
high quality, De Hooch’s Bedroom (Washington, DC,
The National Gallery of Art) and Maes’s Young Woman
Peeling Apples (New York, Metropolitan Museum of
Art) (fig. 17), which had been acquired by his father.
In return, Morant undertook to supply him with “any
picture by Albano.”56 The Duke was not necessarily
averse to Dutch painting in general – indeed, to the
three landscapes by Van Goyen he inherited from his
father he added a further four – yet he seems not to have
shared his father’s taste for scenes from everyday life, or
found them appropriate to the palatial surroundings of
Stafford House, and preferred to have instead another
classicizing work of the Bolognese school.
Again in contrast to his father, the 2nd Duke was not
an enthusiastic supporter of contemporary British
art – despite the fact that his home at Trentham was
abundantly furnished with modern English painters,
and despite holding office for twenty-six years as
President of the British Institution.57 But the Marquess
had been a founding governor of the BI, and it has been
observed that the Duke’s role was less practical than
honorary, as if to maintain an aristocratic hereditary
principle in the governance of so important a national
institution.58 This withdrawal of support for living


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