Reference Entry

Sheepshanks, John

Graham Reynolds

in Oxford Art Online

Published online January 2003 | e-ISBN: 9781884446054 | DOI:

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(b Leeds, 1787; d London, Oct 5, 1863).

English collector and patron. He was the son of a wealthy Leeds cloth manufacturer. Retiring from the family firm in the 1820s, he was already a collector; from the 1830s he concentrated on buying contemporary British art, selling his collection of 17th-century Dutch drawings and etchings to the British Museum, London, in 1836. He was an especially generous patron to William Mulready, who rescued him from attempted robbery and painted his portrait in the interior of 172 New Bond Street, London, in 1832 (London, V&A). In 1857 Sheepshanks gave a collection of 233 paintings and 289 drawings to the nation (now London, V&A), emulating a similar gift made by Robert Vernon in 1847. Seeing that Vernon’s gift had been without a permanent home, Sheepshanks stipulated that the government should provide a gallery, with the intention of forming a National Gallery of British Art. He wanted it to be in an airy and quiet place, to assist pupils in the Schools of Art, and hoped that it would open in the evenings and on Sundays for the benefit of working people. The first Keeper, ...

Reference Entry.  383 words. 

Subjects: Exhibition Catalogues and Specific Collections ; 19th-Century Art

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