Sir Peter Francis Bourgeois and the Dulwich Picture Gallery

Noel Desenfans and Sir Francis Bourgeois, circa 1805 by Paul Sandby, watercolour on paper

The Dulwich Picture Gallery was England’s first purpose-built art gallery and considered by some to be England’s first national gallery.  Founded by the bequest of Sir Peter Francis Bourgois, dandy, the gallery was built to display his vast picture collection and dedicated to public viewing, something that had not been done before in Great Britain as art collecting was considered a folly of toffs.

Sir Peter Francis was born in London and lived from 1753 to 1811, thus a known figure during the period known as The Regency.  He was not only a collector of art, but a painter, albeit not a highly collected one.  Paintings by Bourgeois today sell in the $800 – $3000 range at British auction houses. In contrast, Bourgeois’s collection, which sits among the 600 plus paintings located in the Dulwich Picture Gallery, is quite fabulous and today has an estimated value of ????(we’ll let you know when we discover an estimate).  The Dulwich Picture Gallery includes Baroque European paintings bequeathed by Bourgois from his “Royal Collection” along with British paintings, notably, the Linley family portraits donated in 1835 and the Fairfax Murray Gift  in 1911 which also included English portraiture.

Sir Peter Francis Bourgeois became an art dealer with a Frenchman by the name of Noël Desenfans who had moved to Paris in 1769 as a writer.  Desenfans became a father figure to Bourgeois after Bourgeois’ own father abandoned him and his sister after the death of their mother in 1768.  Bourgeois was 15 years old at the time.

Together, Desenfans and Borgeois set up and ran the most successful art dealership in London during The Regency era.  The startup capital for the enterprise came from the dowry of Desenfans’ wife, Margeret Morris.

Stanislaus Augustus, King of Poland, commissioned the dealers to establish a Royal Collection for Poland in the year 1790.  Political turmoil however saw the partition of Poland and it’s eventual disappearance from the map as a state in 1795.  With the abdication of Stanislaus Augustus, Buorgeois and Desenfans ended up as the owners of the “Polish” Royal Collection and attempted to sell it on. They approached both the Tsar of Russia and the British crown but were unsuccessful in selling the collection in its entirety.  Desefens died in 1807 which left the collection in the hands of Buorgeois.  After considering bequeathing the collection to the British Museum whom Buorgeois found to be aristocratic and stuffy, he settled upon Dulwich College, with the stipulation that the paintings be made available for the ‘inspection of the public’.

What follows is a description of the founding of the Dulwich Gallery—that appeared in The Art Journal – New Series,  published by  J.S. Virtue and Co. Ltd., London in 1891—along with a not so flattering description of Buorgeois as painter:

SIR FRANCIS BOURGEOIS, R.A.

Sir Francis Bourgeois, who was born in 1756, elected an Associate in 1787, and a Royal Academician in 1793, was not remarkable as a painter, and is chiefly noteworthy to us as the donor of the Dulwich collection. The visitors who frequent that gallery are probably little mindful of the storms which drifted those Art treasures into their present haven. To account for their presence there, they would have to search backwards into troublous times, to the days of the Great Frederick of Prussia and the partition of Poland. Their history is curious and mysterious. They were purchased for Stanislas Poniatowsky, the last King of Poland, by a certain picture-dealer, Noel Desenfans, with money supplied to him by the king. Stanislas abdicated after the partition of his kingdom, but why his property was not sent to him, king or no king, and whether he claimed it or not, are unknown to us ; the pictures remained with Desenfans, were bequeathed by him to his friend Bour geois, and he bequeathed them to Dulwich College.

In 1776 Bourgeois travelled on the Continent, and went to Poland, carrying letters of introduction from Desenfans to King Stanislas, who conferred on him the knighthood of the Order of Merit, and this honour was subsequently confirmed to him by King George III. He painted landscapes in the style of De Loutherbourg, whose pupil he had been, and we think our readers will ask no more of us, and be prepared to admit that when we have subtracted from the art of De Loutherbourg what invention and imagination he possessed, and all his technical dexterity, it leaves us but a poor residuum where withal to furbish forth an eulogium of that of Bourgeois. He died in 1811 of a fall from his horse.

The Dulwich Picture Gallery is located at:

Gallery Road
London
SE21 7AD

Helen Hillyard, Assistant Curator, to arrange an appointment: h.hillyard@dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk

Home
Top of Pg.
Archives

Comments are closed.

Quotations

Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go.

— Napoleon

Mark Zuckerberg; Tulip Pusher

The Tulip Folly, by Jean-Léon Gérôme, 1882. A nobleman guards an exceptional bloom as soldiers trample flowerbeds in a vain attempt to stabilise the tulip market by limiting the supply.

Mark Zuckerberg has become the poster boy of modern Tulip mania. It is not clear as to whether or not he is [...] Read more →

Proof of Stake Equals Proof of Ponzi

Ponzi schemes and MLM schemes are by design corrupt. They are designed to confuse and or hoodwink the investor or participant into believing he is buying into a surefire road to riches.

When a computer programmer designs and programs a computer program, or in the case of the crypto-world, a [...] Read more →

Bitcoin Suicide: 18,000 Jumpers

Bitcoin Suicide: 18,000 Jumpers

That Crypto-Punk you bullied way back in high school Became your Central Banker making you the fool

Now he’s shutting down his servers and clearing out the bank While you sit there in your basement watching Alt-coins tank

Back last October when he sold you a pack of lies He [...] Read more →

Exploring the Language of Propaganda: What You Need to Know

Propaganda is generally what is being passed off for news these days.

It comes from all perspectives; progressive, conservative, and marginal extremes.

Understanding the language of propaganda is necessary to enable one to quickly filter out articles written with persuasive goals as their ultimate objective. Any article that [...] Read more →

President Joe Biden’s Delusional Letter to Oil Company Executives

“Energy prices are set by global commodity prices …” Federal Reserve Chairman Powell June 15th, 2022

What follows is President Joe Biden’s delusional letter to oil company executives. I have added commentary to address the delusion. My comments are highlighted in yellow and parenthesis.

Dear (executive)

Penal Methods of the Middle Ages

CHAPTER I

PENAL METHODS OF THE MIDDLE AGES

Prisons as places of detention are very ancient institutions. As soon as men had learned the way to build, in stone, as in Egypt, or with bricks, as in Mesopotamia, when kings had many-towered fortresses, and the great barons castles [...] Read more →

Country House Essays Book Now in Print

Country House Essays, the book is now in print. This is an eclectic collection of both original, and historical essays, poems, books, and articles created for our loyal reader hear at CountryHouseEssays.com. It is jam packed with reprints of articles from this website. The cost is $49.95 for this massive [...] Read more →

Clarivoyance by C.W. Leadbeater

Theosophical Society, Adyar, Madras, India, 1890

CLAIRVOYANCE

by C. W. Leadbeater

Adyar, Madras, India: Theosophical Pub. House

[1899]

CHAPTER IX

METHODS OF DEVELOPMENT

When a men becomes convinced of the reality of the valuable [...] Read more →

Westminster Confession of Faith – 1646

CHAPTER I. Of the Holy Scripture.

Although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence, do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men inexcusable; yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of his will, which is necessary [...] Read more →

Growing Muscadine Grapes in Tennessee

The University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee has a long heralded tradition of assisting farmers and growers through it’s Agricultural Extension Service. The following bulletin entitled Grape Growing in Tennessee discusses the Muscadine variety of grapes among others. Muscadine grapes are often found growing wild in Tennessee. On my grandfather’s West Tennessee [...] Read more →

Platform of the American Institute of Banking in 1919

Resolution adapted at the New Orleans Convention of the American Institute of Banking, October 9, 1919:

“Ours is an educational association organized for the benefit of the banking fraternity of the country and within our membership may be found on an equal basis both employees and employers; and in full appreciation [...] Read more →

Parting Words to Kate from The Sloop of War, Jamestown

Sloop of War Jamestown – Photo from book The Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies, Series 1, Vol. 3.

Several years ago, I purchased a small memory book entitled Album of Love from the mid 1800s.

Much like scrap books of today, these books were used to keep [...] Read more →

Historic authenticity of the Spanish SAN FELIPE of 1690

Model of San Felipe

Reprinted from FineModelShips.com with the kind permission of Dr. Michael Czytko

The SAN FELIPE is one of the most favoured ships among the ship model builders. The model is elegant, very beautifully designed, and makes a decorative piece of art to be displayed at home or in [...] Read more →

The Late Rev. H.M. Scarth

H. M. Scarth, Rector of Wrington

By the death of Mr. Scarth on the 5th of April, at Tangier, where he had gone for his health’s sake, the familiar form of an old and much valued Member of the Institute has passed away. Harry Mengden Scarth was bron at Staindrop in Durham, [...] Read more →

Classic Restoration of a Spring Tied Upholstered Chair

This video by AT Restoration is the best hands on video I have run across on the basics of classic upholstery. Watch a master at work. Simply amazing.

Tools:

Round needles: https://amzn.to/2S9IhrP Double pointed hand needle: https://amzn.to/3bDmWPp Hand tools: https://amzn.to/2Rytirc Staple gun (for beginner): https://amzn.to/2JZs3x1 Compressor for pneumatic [...] Read more →

A History of the Use of Arsenicals in Man

The arsenicals (compounds which contain the heavy metal element arsenic, As) have a long history of use in man – with both benevolent and malevolent intent. The name ‘arsenic’ is derived from the Greek word ‘arsenikon’ which means ‘potent'”. As early as 2000 BC, arsenic trioxide, obtained from smelting copper, was used [...] Read more →

Books Condemned to be Burnt

BOOKS CONDEMNED TO BE BURNT.

By

JAMES ANSON FARRER,

LONDON

ELLIOT STOCK, 62, PATERNOSTER ROW

1892

———-

WHEN did books first come to be burnt in England by the common hangman, and what was [...] Read more →

U.S. Plant Variety Protection Act – Full Text

UNITED STATES PLANT VARIETY PROTECTION ACT

TITLE I – PLANT VARIETY PROTECTION OFFICE Chapter Section 1. Organization and Publications . 1 2. Legal Provisions as to the Plant Variety Protection Office . 21 3. Plant Variety Protection Fees . 31

CHAPTER 1.-ORGANIZATION AND PUBLICATIONS Section 1. Establishment.2 There is [...] Read more →

The Master of Hounds

Photo Caption: The Marquis of Zetland, KC, PC – otherwise known as Lawrence Dundas Son of: John Charles Dundas and: Margaret Matilda Talbot born: Friday 16 August 1844 died: Monday 11 March 1929 at Aske Hall Occupation: M.P. for Richmond Viceroy of Ireland Vice Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire Lord – in – Waiting [...] Read more →