Prince Peter Soltykoff
Prince Peter Soltykoff’s vast collection of medieval objects was disposed of in a sale in Paris in 1861, from which the Museum acquired some of its most important medieval objects such as the Gloucester candlestick.
Prince Peter Soltykoff was the grandson of Count, later Prince, Nicolas Soltykoff, president of the Council of Ministers of Tsar Alexander I. He came to Paris in 1840 where he assembled a vast collection of medieval treasures, which he housed in two hotels built specifically for the purpose. The Soltykoff Collection of medieval art was the most celebrated private collection of its kind and comprised armour, glass, enamels, watches, ivories, manuscripts and other pieces.
In 1861, 1109 lots were auctioned at Hotel Drouot over 4 weeks, 26 lots of which were purchased by John Webb and offered to the South Kensington Museum, including the cruciform Chasse (7650-1861), known as the Eltenberg Reliquary and considered to be the star of the entire collection, and the Gloucester candlestick (7649-1861).
Information in the V&A Archive
MA/2/S11 – Nominal file: Soltykoff Collection (including J. C. Robinson’s report on his inspection of the Collection)
MA/3/32: Art referees’ reports, 1863-1886
ED 84/35: Precis of the Board minutes of the Science and Art Department, vol. I, 1852-1863
ED84/44: Minutes relative to the acquisition of Art Objects – for the benefit of the Schools of Art
MA/30/28 & 29: Central Inventory registers
Tenth Report of the Science and Art Department. London: George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode for HMSO, 1863
Henry Cole: diaries: typed transcripts, 1822-1882
A0331: Clive Wainwright research papers
Selected printed works
Webb, John. Report on the collection of Prince Soltykoff. ?London, 1860. NAL Pressmark: NL.97.0635
Objets d'art et de haute curiosité composant la célèbre collection du Prince Soltykoff 1861 Apr. 8-May 1. Hôtel Drouot. NAL Pressmark: 23P
The Soltykoff Collection. The Literary Gazette 149 (1861): 432. NAL pressmark: PP.11.E
Wainwright, C. ‘The making of the South Kensington Museum, IV: relationships with the trade; Webb and Bardini.’ Journal of the History of Collections 14, vol.1 (2002): 63-78. NAL pressmark: PP.69.E
To locate material in the National Art Library, please search the Library Catalogue.