Lt-Col George Babington Croft Lyons
George Babington Croft Lyons was an antiquary and collector who loaned, and later bequeathed, 978 objects (ceramics, sculpture, metalwork (particularly silver and pewter), textiles and woodwork) and 391 photographic negatives to the Museum.
George Babington Croft Lyons was born on 15 September 1855. Nothing is known of his early life. On 23 May 1874 he was promoted to Lieutenant with the Essex Rifles. He was admitted Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, London, on 7 January 1904 and served on its Executive Council from 1908 to 1926; he was a Vice-President from 1917 to 1921. Croft Lyons was also actively involved with the Burlington Fine Arts Club, publishing a number of articles in the Burlington Magazine. Like his friend, George Salting, when Croft Lyons’s collection outgrew his house in Neville Street, Kensington, he loaned works for exhibition at the South Kensington Museum; these included ceramics, sculpture, metalwork (particularly silver and pewter), textiles and woodwork.
Croft Lyons died in London on 22 June 1926, aged 71. He bequeathed to the Museum all the objects currently exhibited on loan (these amounted to 978 objects and 391 photographic negatives) together with ‘ten other objects to be selected from the works of art remaining in his house so far as these are not already disposed of by specific bequests’. The British Museum, National Gallery and Birmingham Art Gallery were also beneficiaries of Croft Lyons’ bequest.
Information in the V&A Archive
MA/1/C3266/1-5: Nominal file – Croft-Lyons, Lieut-Colonel C. G.
MA/1/N102/1: Nominal file – National Art Collections Fund
MA/30/271: Central Inventory register
MA/49/3/19: Press cuttings
Review of the Principal Acquisitions of the Year 1926. London: Published under the Authority of the Board of Education, 1927
Selected printed sources:
Evans, Joan. A History of the Society of Antiquaries. Oxford: Printed at the University press by Charles Batey for The Society of Antiquaries, London, 1956. NAL pressmark: 240.E.34
Read, Hercules. ‘Colonel Croft Lyons.’ The Antiquaries Journal 6 (1926): 451-52. NAL pressmark: PP.2.M
C.H.R. ‘Colonel Croft Lyons.’ [Obituary]. Times. 28 June 1926
‘Croft Lyons bequest of early dials and other instruments.’ British Museum Quarterly 21, no.3 (1926): 76-77. NAL pressmark: PP.25.D
‘Seals and rings (Croft Lyons Collection).’ British Museum Quarterly 2, no.1 (1927): 22-24. NAL pressmark: PP.25.D
To locate material in the National Art Library, please search the Library Catalogue.
Other archival sources
University of Glasgow Library, MS MacColl C450, letter
West Sussex Record Office, Add Mss1320, letters