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Charlotte Schreiber

Wax portrait relief of August of Saxe-Gotha, Princess Dowager of Wales, Mother of George III, England, 18th century, given by Charles Schreiber M.P and Lady Charlotte Schreiber in 1884

Wax portrait relief of August of Saxe-Gotha, Princess Dowager of Wales, Mother of George III, England, 18th century, given by Charles Schreiber M.P and Lady Charlotte Schreiber in 1884

Charlotte Schreiber spent 15 years travelling across Europe collecting ceramics and she gave a significant collection of English wares to the Museum in 1894.

Charlotte Schreiber was born in Lincolnshire on 19 May 1812, the eldest child of the ninth Earl of Lindsay. In 1833 she married John Guest, a manufacturer and owner of the Dowlais ironworks in Wales, 27 years her senior. She learnt Welsh and became involved in the business, ultimately running the works single-handedly following her husband’s death in 1852. In 1855 she married Charles Schreiber, a Classics scholar employed as her son’s tutor. She described her collecting, which began around 1869 as the 'china mania' and for the next 15 years travelled across Europe with her husband building an unparalleled collection of 18th-century ceramics. After her husband’s death in 1884 she gave the English part of her collections, a total of 1,800 items, to the Museum.

Her collection of European ceramics was either sold or given to her family while her collection of fans and playing cards was acquired by the British Museum. She died aged 83 in 1893.


Information in the V&A Archive

MA/1/S793: Nominal file – Lady C. Schreiber

MA/30/133: Central Inventory register

MA/49/2/59: Press cuttings

ED 84/39: Precis of the Board Minutes of the Department of Science and Art, 1 January 1884 to 31 December 1887

Henry Cole: diaries: typed transcripts, 1822-1882

Other archival source

See the National Register of Archives

Selected Printed sources

List of the bequests and donations to the South Kensington Museum, now called The Victoria and Albert Museum: completed, to 31st December 1900. London: HMSO, 1901. NAL Pressmark: VA.1901.0001

Eatwell, Ann. ‘Private pleasure, public beneficence: Lady Charlotte Schreiber and ceramic collecting.’ In Women in the Victorian art world, ed. Clarissa Campbell Orr. Manchester: Manchester University Press, c 1995. NAL Pressmark: NB.95.0544

Guest, Revel, and John, Angela V. Lady Charlotte Guest: an extraordinary life. Stroud: Tempus Publishing Ltd, 2007

Obey, Erica. The Wunderkammer of Lady Charlotte Guest. Bethlehem, PA: Lehigh University Press, 2007

Catalogue of English Porcelain, Earthenware, Enamels &c: collected by Charles Schreiber and Lady Charlotte Elizabeth Schreiber and presented to the South Kensington Museum in 1884. London: HMSO, 1885. NAL Pressmark: 96.B.61

Van Oss, O.. ‘Lady Charlotte Schreiber.’ Transactions of the English Ceramic Circle 4, no.1 (1957): 15–28. NAL Pressmark: PP.25.C

To locate material in the National Art Library, please search the Library Catalogue.

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