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Lot 336
WOODBURN, SAMUEL (1780/5-1853, art dealer and expert on Old Master Drawings)
Sold for £720 (US$ 1,159) inc. premium

Lot Details
WOODBURN, SAMUEL (1780/5-1853, art dealer and expert on Old Master Drawings)

Footnotes

  • THE SALE OF DRAWINGS BY RAPHAEL AND MICHELANGELO INCLUDING THE CELEBRATED COLLECTION OF SIR THOMAS LAWRENCE. After the British Museum turned down Sir Thomas Lawrence's collection of Old Master Drawings (the greatest English collection), particularly rich in works by Raphael and Michelangelo, in 1830 at £18,000 for 4,300 sheets of drawings and seven albums (two of them with 500 drawings by Fra Bartolommeo) they reverted to his executor, Archibald Keightly. He sold them in 1834 to Samuel Woodburn, who had helped to assemble the collection, for £16,000. Woodburn divided them into sequences by artist and showed over 1,000 of them in a series of exhibitions in 1835-1836. In 1838 Woodburn sold 59 drawings by Michelangelo to King William II of Holland. Eventually, in 1846, Woodburn sold the remainder of the works by Raphael and Michelangelo to the Oxford University Galleries - thus the Ashmolean Museum has one of the greatest collections of works by two of the greatest Renaissance masters. After Woodburn's death in 1853 part of his collection of drawings (said to be largely those that did not stem from Sir Thomas Lawrence) were sold at Christie's in 1860 (1,075 lots).

    In the present letters Woodburn, the principal art dealer of his time and one of the greatest nineteenth-century experts on Old Master Drawings, offers the drawings by Raphael 'in the Lawrence Gallery' to Trustees of the British Museum 'with a view to a purchase for the Nation[.] Messrs Woodburn are willing to accept whatever sum they may value them at', and discusses, with Phillips, at length the possibility of having 'The Collection' placed at the Royal Academy (or the British Museum) by subscription, including the method by which the subscription would be raised ('...the Collection should always be open to those who had assisted by their Funds in placing it there...'); he also suggests. as an alternative, that the Royal Academy might persuade the King to patronise the idea of a new Royal Academy with additional rooms in which the drawings could be placed, promises between £100 and £500 himself, describes his efforts to obtain copies of catalogues of 'the Drawings Sales', and sends a list for his correspondent's private view of pictures by Raphael and Michelangelo with the prices ('...the prices I have sold a few of the Drawings for from which prices I deducted about 20 Per Cent I also specify a few of the M Angelo & Raffaelle which have been at publick Sales by which you can make a Comparison I suppose you will not go through more than the M Angelo and Raffaelli tomorrow...').

    The most expensive items on the list are: Michelangelo - 'Four Crusifixions with variations 350', 'Large Cartoon Holy Family 300', 'Holy Family in red Chalk 300', 'Holy Family pen oblong 200'; Raphael - 'S Cecelia 315 (Sold by Woodburn to Dimsdale for 500£)', 'Murder of the Innocents pen 350', 'Arched top Assumption of the Virgin pasted intirely 250'.
Auction information

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