Bridgewater House Gallery, 1900
Paintings Come to Britain
When the Orléans collection was put on display in London, it had a profound impact on British artists and art lovers. The English writer and painter William Hazlitt (1778-1830) wrote ‘I was staggered when I saw the works ... A new sense came upon me, a new heaven and a new Earth stood before me.’ Francis Egerton (3rd Duke of Bridgewater) purchased Titian’s two Diana paintings as well as a number of the other old master pictures that have defined the Bridgewater collection as one of the finest in the world. Some of these spectacular paintings form part of the current Bridgewater loan to the National Galleries of Scotland. When Francis Egerton died childless in 1803, the collection passed to his nephew George Leveson-Gower, 2nd Marquess of Stafford (later 1st Duke of Sutherland), and then by inheritance to Francis Egerton, 1st Earl of Ellesmere (1800-1857). In 1847 the Earl began to build Bridgewater House in London, where he had a large gallery constructed to display his great-uncle’s fine collection of paintings.
- Reproduced by permission of English Heritage NMR