The Dulwich Picture Gallery is a museum dedicated to Fine Arts which is in Dulwich, near London. The museum was inaugurated in 1817.
The collection is made of paintings that belonged to Sir Francis Bourgeois, and Français Noël Desenfans, his business partner. The two men ran an art trade. In 1790, the King of Poland Stanislas II desired to have a royal collection, so Bourgeois and Desenfans crossed Europe to collect many pieces of art.
However, five years later, Poland was dismembered and no longer had a kingdom. The two men were seeking to sell their art collection, but they did not succeed. Desenfans died in 1807 and his colleague contacted the British Museum, London but finally refused to leave the collection at his own death. He died in 1811 and the collection was given to the Dulwich College, which created the Dulwich Picture Gallery.
Francis Bourgeois had stipulated in his will that the collection should be housed in a new building which would be built by Sir John Soane. They also left 2000 pounds to fund the work of the museum.
The building was heavily damaged by the explosion of a German aircraft during the Second World War and the mausoleum suffered particularly. The building was renovated and reopened in 1953. An extension was added to the building in 1999 and was inaugurated by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000.
Many paintings are exhibited at the museum, mainly dating from the 17th Century and 18th Century, like the English school, but also the Spanish, French or even Italian schools.
Dulwich Picture Gallery has a collection with extraordinary origins!
In 1790, the King of Poland commissioned two London art dealers. They bought paintings all over Europe, which remained in their possession after the fall of Poland. They left the collection to Dulwich College and, following their request, the first public art gallery in England opened its doors in 1817.
Enjoy your visit!
David Teniers the Younger: "The Chaff-Cutter" (1610-30, Dulwich Picture Gallery, London)
Antoon Van Dyck: "Samson and Delilah" (c.1618-20, Dulwich Picture Gallery, London)
Antoon Van Dyck: "Venetia, Lady Digby, on her Deathbed" (1633, Dulwich Picture Gallery, London)
Peter Paul Rubens: "Venus, Mars and Cupid" (c.1630-35, Dulwich Picture Gallery, London)
Reni Guido: "St John the Baptist in the Wilderness" (1636-37, Dulwich Picture Gallery, London)
Rembrandt: "A Girl at a Window" (1645, Dulwich Picture Gallery, London)
Bartolome Esteban Murillo: "The Flower Girl" (1665-70, Dulwich Picture Gallery, London)
Claude Lorrain: "Jacob with Laban and his Daughters" (1676, Dulwich Picture Gallery, London)
George Knapton: "Lucy Ebberton" (c.1745-50, Dulwich Picture Gallery, London)
Thomas Gainsborough: "Elizabeth and Mary Linley" (c.1772, Dulwich Picture Gallery, London)