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George Salting Papers



George Salting Papers



Archive reference number



The collection contains two of Salting's notebooks, printed catalogues of his paintings, some annotated, and other lists relating to his bequest.

Record type


Administrative history

George Salting was born in Australia on 15 August 1835, the elder son of Severin Kanute Salting (1805-1865), a wealthy businessman and landowner, and Louisa Augusta, née Fiellerup. Following an education at Eton College, 1848-53, and the University of Sydney, from where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1857, Salting settled in London. In 1858-59 he toured the continent, visiting galleries, churches and architectural monuments. After the death of his father on 14 September 1865, he inherited a fortune estimated at £30,000 per annum and devoted himself thereafter to the study and collecting of works of art. He died on 12 December 1909 and is buried in Brompton Cemetery.

Salting bequeathed works to the National Gallery, British Museum and Victoria & Albert Museum. The Trustees of the National Gallery received those works which were already on loan and were also allowed to select those from Salting's Collection which they would like to receive. In total this amounted to 192 works. The pictures were hung in the Gallery in 1911. There were no special conditions attached to the bequest. Salting bequeathed his prints and drawings to the British Museum and a substantial number of objects to the Victoria and Albert Museum. The bequest to the V&A was conditional that the objects would not be distributed over various sections but all kept together. Including three works presented during his lifetime, there are currently 164 works in the National Gallery Collection which have been donated by Salting. In addition, thirty-one of the works bequeathed by Salting are now held by the Tate Gallery.

Custodial history

According to a Board minute of 8 March 1910 'the thanks of the Board be given to Mr Flower for his gift of Mr Salting's M.S. notes of his Collection' [NG1/8; see also NG6/27, 31 March 1910]; this minute presumably refers to the two notebooks. The collection was originally deposited in the National Gallery Library and given the number A1. 6. 31, but was subsequently transferred to the Archive. With the exception of the notebooks, the dates of the original deposit and subsequent transfer are not known.

Related material

Material held at the National Gallery: NG1/6-8 Minutes of the Board of Trustees NG6/19, 20, 24-27 Letterbooks NG7/185/4 Letter from Mr George Salting offering to lend six pictures to the National Gallery (NG2593, NG2595, NG2603-5), 3 Apr 1895 NG7/257/5 Receipt from Mr George Salting for his picture by Petrus Christus temporarily removed from the National Gallery (NG2593), 28 Jun 1901 NG7/265/7 Receipt from Mr Salting for his small picture by Petrus Christus which he had withdrawn temporarily from the National Gallery to lend to an exhibition at Bruges (NG2593), 29 May 1902 NG7/265/8 List of pictures which Mr Salting would be willing to lend to the Gallery, 5, 9 Jun 1902 NG7/277/8 Letter from Mr George Salting asking for the return of two pictures belonging to him which had been on loan to the Gallery, 1903 [MISSING FROM ARCHIVE] NG7/277/9 List of additional pictures which Mr Salting offered to lend to the National Gallery (NG2593, and including NG2486, NG2487, NG2495, NG2501 and NG2594), 1903 [MISSING FROM ARCHIVE] NG7/299/21 Letter from Mr George Salting offering to lend a picture by Giovanni Francesco da Rimini (NG2118), 9 Aug 1905 NG7/321/3 Letter from Mr G Salting offering to present his picture by Giovanni Francesca da Rimini (NG2118), 27 Feb 1907 NG7/338/6 Receipt from Mr G Salting for his picture of the Virgin and Child by Michele di Ridolfo, 3 Mar 1908 NG7/369/1 Letter from HM Treasury enclosing copy of Mr George Salting's will whereby he bequeathed his pictures to the National Gallery (NG2482-NG2673), 29 Dec 1909 NG7/369/2 Catalogue of Mr Salting's collection marked with note of decisions as to the acceptance or rejection of pictures by the Trustees; letter from A Flower of 10 March 1910; and H Wickham of 14 February 1910 (NG2482-NG2673) NG7/373/8 Letter from the Treasury asking for any further evidence or statement as to the claim of the National Gallery to the custody of the miniatures bequeathed to the nation by Mr George Salting, 21 Mar 1910 NG7/374/1-2 Letters from the Treasury Solicitor enclosing a draft of the case relating to the disposal of Mr George Salting's miniatures which he is proposed to lay before the law officers of the Crown, 14, 19 Apr 1910 NG7/376/8 Letter from Mr A Flower asking for the waiving by the Board of any claim to the custody of the Salting Bequest watercolours, 11 Feb 1910 NG7/376/9 Letter from the Treasury suggesting that as to the custody of the Salting miniatures the opinion of the Solicitor General and Mr Sargant be accepted in the absence of the Attorney-General, 4 Jun 1910 NG7/377/10-14 Letter from the Treasury acknowledging the receipt of a summons to appear before the Court of Chancery in the matter of the Salting Bequest miniatures, 22, 23, 27 Jun, 11 Jul 1910 NG7/380/5 Copy of Affidavit made by Board of Education re Salting Bequest, 1910 NG7/384/2-5 Letters from the Solicitor of HM Treasury informing the Board of the progress of negotiation for leaving the decision as to the custody of the Salting miniatures to the Law Officers of the Crown, 2 Aug, 14, 23 Nov, 7 Dec 1910 NG7/387/1 Letter from the Treasury Solicitor enclosing an "Opinion" of the Law Officers of the Crown that the Victoria and Albert Museum have the custody of the Salting miniatures, and extract from Mr George Salting's will, 3 Jun 1911 NG17/6 National Gallery Report 1910, pp.2-5, p.8; Appendix no.2, pp.11-32 (reports in which rooms each Salting picture was hung) NG68/25/19 Memo reporting arrival of eight paintings belonging to George Salting (NG2617), 2 Sep 1903 NG68/25/20 Letter signed by Edward Poynter, referring to Mr Salting's request to have three paintings, including 'Portrait if a Lady' (NG2617), returned, 2 Nov 1903 NG68/25/21 Letter from George Salting to H. Turner requesting that his paintings be sent to Messrs Agnew's (NG2617), 4 Nov 1903 Associated material held in other archives: Papers relating to the Salting family of Australia and in particular to George Salting (d. 1909) art collector and benefactor to public art galleries are held at the London Metropolitan Archives Correspondence and papers relating to the Salting bequest including three notebooks containing inventories; bundle of typescript slips recording provenance; loose notes, bills and correspondence providing inventory information, provenance and values; and typescript inventory of Salting material in the Architecture and Sculpture Department are held at the V&A Archive

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