Offers of paintings sent to the National Gallery: Filed by Owner
Archive reference number
Contains letters to the National Gallery from members of the public, art dealers and agents, offering pictures by western European artists or providing information on when significant pictures or collection go up for sale. Some letters bear a number, which is the letter's entry number in the Register of Offers for that year [NG9, Register of Offers, 1878-1920].
A number of the letters have been annotated by noting when the letter was answered and the decision on whether the offer was accepted.
Since its foundation in 1824, the National Gallery has received offers of pictures, for sale or donation, from members of the public and art dealers. In some cases, the offers have been presented to the Board of Trustees for decision. However, in many cases the Keeper or Director, acting under his own authority, made the decision whether or not to acquire the picture(s) offered.
Some of the pictures offered to and rejected by the National Gallery have subsequently become part of major public collections.
The Gallery received these letters in the years 1836-1904. At some point they were separated from the rest of the Archive, and held within the Library in Boxes A VI 4 1&2. The letters were transferred back to the Archive in 2002.
On listing several other envelopes of letters, labelled Box F 12 12, were found in the above two boxes. These relate in large part to offers of sale and have therefore been added to this series arrangement, although they were originally filed by name of artist rather than owner.
Similar correspondence is filed in: NG5 Letters 1823-1877 NG7 Letters read at Board meetings 1877-1914 NG38 Offers rejected: British artists 1840-1904 NG40 Offers rejected: collections 1845-1943 NG16 Registry series 1913-1987 [especially files: NG16/158.1-128: 1913-1987 and NG16/291: 1913-1921] NG1 minutes of the Board of Trustees, where some offers were discussed NG9 Register of Offers, 1878-1920
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