Murray Marks (1840-1918) was a Dutch art dealer and collector who presented many gifts to the Museum as well as selling and loaning objects.
Murray Marks was born into a distinguished Dutch family, with influential figures on both sides of his family. Primarily an art dealer and collector, he was also a raconteur, an admirer of the theatre and lover of dramatic literature. He was prominent in the London literary and artistic scene and was well known and trusted among collectors. He was one of the earliest importers of white Oriental porcelain, having begun trading at an early age. Important collections were built through him by Rossetti and Whistler, and he maintained a close friendship with both - Marks’s wife sat for a painting by Rossetti.
Operating out of Bond Street premises, Marks became a trusted consultant, along with his partners, The Durlacher Brothers, and George Salting, John Pierpont Morgan, Lewis Huth, and other notable collectors referred to him for advice. Together as partners, they also advised on the provenance and history of many items in the Salting Bequest to the V&A. In addition to loaning and selling many items to the V&A, Murray Marks was a generous donor to the Museum. An eclectic array of objects came to the V&A from Marks, ranging from mounted photographs, metalwork vessels, items of furniture and examples of leatherwork. He was also a collector in his own right, and his houses in Egerton-crescent and Brighton housed his own collections.
Information in the V&A Archive
MA/1/M826/1 – 2: Nominal file – Murray Marks
MA/1/D1979/1-7: Nominal File – Durlacher Brothers
MA/3/28, 32, 35, 37, 39, 40, 43, 46 & 49: Art Referees' reports, 1863-1886
Selected printed works
Williamson, George C. Murray Marks and his Friends. London: J. Lane Co., 1919. NAL pressmark: 194.F.6
Surtees, Virginia. The paintings and drawings of Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882): a catalogue raisonné. 2 vols. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971. NAL pressmark: 107.R.55-56
Wainwright, Clive. 'A gatherer and disposer of other men’s stuffe’: Murray Marks, connoisseur and curiosity dealer.’ In Journal of the History of Collections 14, no. 1 (2002): 161-76. NAL pressmark: PP.69.E
[Obituary]. The Times. 8 May 1918
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