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WHEN: May 2, 2018

Before Leonardo's Salvator Mundi: Sir John Charles Robinson, Sir Francis Cook, and the buying, selling and collecting of Old Master paintings in Britain and France in the nineteenth century

Presenter: Elizabeth Pergam, Faculty, MA Art Business, MA Fine and Decorative Art and Design, Sotheby’s Institute of Art- New York

Recently Sir John Charles Robinson (1824-1913) has attracted attention as the intermediary for the sale of Leonardo’s Salvator Mundi to the voracious late nineteenth-century British collector Sir Francis Cook. A “dry-run” of the paper I will deliver on July 30 as part of The Wallace Collection, London, seminars on the history of collecting, this afternoon I will examine the circumstance behind John Charles Robinson’s decision to sell his earlier collection of old master paintings and drawings in Paris in May 1868. Following my discovery of the Register of the sale in the Archives de la Ville de Paris, I have been able to clarify what was sold, to whom, and for what price. By holding the sale in Paris, the recently unemployed, former curator/art referee of the South Kensington Museum (SKM) attracted buyers who were both active collectors—primarily French, but also British, such as George Salting (1835-1909)—as well as members of the art trade. More broadly, however, Robinson’s decision to choose Paris over London reflects his knowledge of the art market in the mid-Victorian/late Second Empire period.

This event is only open to Sotheby’s Institute students, faculty, alumni, and staff. If you are interested in applying to our MA program and would like to attend this event, please contact admissions: