June 2018

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Museums and Galleries

Art Market

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Super post! Any students studying the collecting habits of Sir Robert Walpole really do need to start when Houghton Hall started. Walpole may have made his wealth in dodgy dealings but he was smart enough to know that money does not guarantee taste. Hiring artists and art agents to buy pictures on his behalf was a stroke of genius.

That Jervas managed to buy paintings by Carlo Maratta was fortunate for two reasons: firstly Walpole loved them and secondly Houghton has memorable space dedicated to the Italian.

I don't mind that later family members, critics and connoisseurs didn't like Robert's taste. Tastes always change over time, so a collector has to buy for his own pleasure.


Maratta may not have been so singular a taste in the 18th century as I've indicated. I shd have said that many connoisseurs collected his drawings. Windsor have lots of them. Still, Sir Robert knew what he liked!

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