Collecting Old Masters
Beaumont’s interest in the Old Masters was stimulated partly by his friendship with Reynolds, and also by undertaking a Grand Tour with his wife in 1782. For the next 20 years he devoted his relatively modest income to purchasing Old Master pictures.
One of his earliest buys, in 1785, was Claude Lorraine’s A Landscape with Hagar and the Angel. It remained his favourite. He would take it with him when he travelled in a specially-designed case.
He also developed an interest in Flemish and Dutch painting, which came out of his friendship with Uvedale Price, the principal promoter of the Picturesque Movement.
A visit to Italy in 1821 reactivated Beaumont’s purchasing instincts and he bought Michelangelo’s 'Taddei Tondo', which he later gave to the Royal Academy. To accommodate his growing picture collection, Beaumont had a picture gallery added to his house in 1792.
Next: The Beaumont Gift