John Julius Angerstein
He gave up much of his income to charitable work and was active as a philanthropist. He belonged to the Committee for the Relief of the Black Poor, an organisation with abolitionist interests.
He also became Vice-President of the London Institution in 1806, a non-denominational foundation which was the forerunner of London University. This body made scientific education widely available in London to people whose non-orthodox religious beliefs barred them from attending Oxford or Cambridge universities.
Foundation of the Gallery
He lived in Greenwich in south-east London for much of his life. Here he employed a local architect to build him a country residence, ‘Woodlands’. He also had a London town house, at 100 Pall Mall.
On Angerstein’s death the British Government purchased 38 of his pictures and took over the lease of his Pall Mall town house. The public was able to view the collection here before the modern Gallery was constructed in Trafalgar Square.