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Tea Parties at the Museum - The collector J H Fitzhenry and his relationship with the V&A

Macushla Baudis
Ph.D, Lecturer, History of Art & Design, Department of Visual Culture, National College of Art and Design, Dublin


The art dealer and collector J.H. Fitzhenry was a well-known figure in the London and Paris art worlds of the turn of the twentieth century, with a well-deserved reputation for connoisseurship as well as for his generosity as a patron of the arts. For over forty years, until his death in 1913, Fitzhenry was a prolific lender and donor to the V&A museum. Yet today Fitzhenry is a forgotten figure in the history of collecting. Drawing on hitherto unpublished correspondence, this article brings to light the life and collections of Fitzhenry, and assesses his important role in the expansion of the V&A collections during this period.

'Dear Mr. Fitzhenry,
During the course of last year you made a large number of valuable and important gifts to this Museum. Amongst them all there was none perhaps so remarkable and so welcome an addition to the collection as that of the magnificent series of French porcelain and French and Dutch faience, which you gave the Board in August and September. These two collections constitute what is probably the most valuable and generous gift which has ever been made to the Museum during the lifetime of the donor. They enable the Museum, which was hitherto lamentably deficient in objects of this character, to stand comparison with the collections of any museum in Europe'. [...]
Sir Cecil Smith, Director of the V&A, to J.H. Fitzhenry. (1)


In 1910, the collector and dealer J.H. Fitzhenry (1836-1913) presented to the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A), London, two collections of ceramics, one of French porcelain, the other of Dutch faience. In the letter of thanks written by the then Director of the museum, Sir Cecil Smith (1859-1944), these collections were judged to 'constitute what is probably the most valuable and generous gift which has ever been made to the Museum during the lifetime of the donor'. (2) This donation undoubtedly formed a centre-point for the museum's expanding collection of Continental ceramics, and represented the culmination of a forty year relationship between Fitzhenry and the V&A. Yet if this was one of the 'most valuable and generous gift[s]' ever made to the museum, why is Fitzhenry today a largely forgotten figure in the history of its collections?

Joseph Henry Fitzhenry was a man of many talents: an art-collector, an art-dealer, and a patron of the arts. (3) Little biographical information is known about him, and this absence must make the early years of Fitzhenry's life and career mere speculation. In his own lifetime he was perceived as a self-made man who, despite a modest background, achieved the education and experience to work successfully as an art dealer in mid-nineteenth-century Paris. (4) He was an acknowledged expert on the fine and decorative arts and he could count amongst his personal friends some of the most well known 'cognoscenti' and greatest art-collectors of the nineteenth century, including Sir Richard Wallace (1818-90) and George Salting (1835-1909), who he counted as his closest friend. As well as establishing a reputation that would attract some of the foremost art patrons of the day to enlist his services, most notably the American, J. Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913), with time Fitzhenry amassed a sufficient fortune to retire as a 'gentleman collector'. During the last 30 years of his life he lived at No. 25, Queen Anne's-Gate, Kensington, close to what was then known as the South Kensington Museum, to which he was such a generous benefactor. (5)

On Fitzhenry's death in 1913 it could be publicly stated that, 'Nearly every department of the South Kensington Museum contains loan exhibits from the Fitzhenry Gift - nearly all Mr. Fitzhenry's best things, in fact, were confided to the safe custody of the Museum'. (6) Over a forty year period, the art collector would lend well over 3,000 items to the museum; this apart from the presentation of many numerous and valuable donations. (7) Yet today Fitzhenry is a largely forgotten figure both in the history of nineteenth-century British collecting and the history of the V&A. The most recent and comprehensive histories of the V&A, particularly 'A Grand Design: The Art of the Victoria and Albert Museum', and 'Vision and Accident: The Story of the Victoria & Albert Museum' , fail to reference Fitzhenry. (8) Recent years have seen much interest in the relationship between dealers and the V&A during its early history, led by the research of curators Ann Eatwell and Clive Wainwright, (9) but yet again Fitzhenry is overlooked. (10)

This article aims, accordingly, to correct this oversight, to serve as an introduction to Fitzhenry and to evaluate his role in the early history of the V&A. This will be accomplished through an examination of the gifts and loans he made to the museum, his participation in the collecting policy of the V&A, and his relationship with the curatorial staff of the museum. The primary source for this research is the large collection of unpublished correspondence and papers between Fitzhenry and staff at the V&A, held in the V&A archives. (11)

A generous patron to the V&A

Throughout his life, Fitzhenry was a frequent and generous patron of the arts in Britain and France. He made loans and benefactions to museums across the United Kingdom, such as the Stoke-on-Trent Ceramics Museum, to which in 1908 he lent examples of Wedgwood and works of the English ceramic factories. (12) He also made gifts to French museums; in 1905 he donated a collection of over 200 examples of English earthenware and porcelain to the Union Centrale des Arts Decoratifs, Paris. (13)

Fitzhenry was an active figure in the London art scene, regularly appearing as a lender to high-profile public exhibitions, such as those held at the Burlington Fine Arts Club. He was also involved at society level as an exhibition organiser in his own right, for example coordinating with Salting in 1907 a select private exhibition of 'miniatures, and other objects of artistic or historic value', to be held in a private residence. (14) Fitzhenry's reputation as a connoisseur was largely based on his expertise in two fields, French ceramics and European miniatures. As such it is no surprise to see him being selected to sit on the British committee for the International Exhibition of Miniatures, held in Brussels in 1912. (15) In addition, his public reputation seems to have been greatly increased by his association with J. Pierpont Morgan; the New York Times described Fitzhenry at his death as, 'for years J. Pierpont Morgan's confidential adviser and art representative [in London]'. (16) Fitzhenry himself was very proud of this connection, and his correspondence is peppered with rather boastful asides to his socialising at Morgan's London residence or on the 'Corsair', Morgan's luxurious yacht. (17)

Yet, first and foremost in Fitzhenry's attentions came the V&A. (18) The records of the V&A show that Fitzhenry first started making gifts to the museum in 1870, when he was a young man in his thirties and presumably in the initial stages of his career. The very first gift listed is a 'Mechlin lace lappet'. The second gift was not made until 1877, a 'French terra cotta shaft or flue', presented along with an 'English earthenware jug'. (19) Gifts over the twenty-year period 1870-1890 were sporadic and modest in value. Loans and gifts increased during the 1890s, presumably by which time Fitzhenry was well established and successful in his profession. During these years he was also offering items for sale to the museum within his capacity as a dealer. (20) From 1901 onwards there is a dramatic increase in both the quantity and quality of gifts to the V&A from Fitzhenry. By this date he may have cut back on his professional work, and had the leisure and financial means to indulge his interest in the museum.

Fitzhenry is distinguished as a collector by the breadth of his collecting practices. This can be seen from the contents of his entire collection which, after his death, were sold at auction in London by Christie's. The collection was so large that - even after the deduction of an additional large group of items bequeathed to the V&A - the auction had to be spread over two weeks in November 1913. (21) Fitzhenry's collection was of an extraordinary diversity and scale, featuring anything from French medieval wood carvings, to English Georgian silver, to a portrait attributed to the Spanish painter Velazquez (1599-1660). The total sale raised £35,265 7s 3d (gross), and this figure did not include valuable items of French origin, such as eighteenth-century porcelain and book-covers, which were later sold separately at auction in Paris.

The same astonishing diversity characterised Fitzhenry's loans and gifts to the V&A. For example, in 1902 he presented to the museum a collection of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century 'silver punch ladles' and 'silver caddie spoons', much appreciated by Keeper of Metalwork, H. P. Mitchell ('I believe we have not a single example'). (22) Shortly afterwards he donated a Renaissance terracotta Virgin and Child, attributed at the time by one of the leading authorities on Renaissance sculpture, German art critic Wilhelm von Bode (1845-1929), to the Master of the Pellegrini Chapel (Sant'Anastasia, Verona). (23) When on a buying trip to France in 1909, Fitzhenry wrote to Sir Cecil Smith: 'I have secured some interesting 'architectural' fragments from a very early chapel (being demolished) near Clermont-Ferrand. (Quite the best locality for that class of work). They are 12 corbels in stone of most complicated design'. (24)

Figure.1 Fragments of arched doorway from St. Hilaire le Grand, Poitiers, about 1500. Museum no. A.12:1-1911

Figure 1 - Fragments of arched doorway from St. Hilaire le Grand, Poitiers, about 1500. Carved Limestone. Museum no. A.12:1-1911. Fitzhenry Gift

Figure.1 presents similar architectural fragments donated by Fitzhenry to the V&A: the remains of an arched doorway from the early-sixteenth-century church of St. Hilaire le Grand, Poitiers. Despite ranging across Georgian silver, Renaissance sculpture and Gothic architecture, his correspondence with the museum testifies that Fitzhenry was not simply a magpie of a collector, acquiring objects at whim; rather his letters give evidence to an impressive breadth of knowledge covering diverse fields and periods of the European decorative arts.

By 1902, Fitzhenry had been allocated his own exhibition cases in the public galleries of the V&A, a very visible sign of the prestige Fitzhenry enjoyed through his collection. A V&A memo told how, 'The little collection of snuff boxes, watches, miniatures, etc, offered as an addition to his loan by Mr. Fitzhenry got together by him from the Pichon and Gavet collections and other sources, are all of small size and many of them of very fine quality. Space was provided for them several weeks ago by Mr. Skinner's instructions in one of the cases devoted to Mr. Fitzhenry's collection, which in consequence stands partially empty waiting to receive them. Their acceptance would thus displace nothing but would enable us to complete the arrangement of the case.' (25)

Fitzhenry frequently opened his home to the V&A and gave curatorial staff access to his private collection. A letter described how:

'Mr. Fitzhenry during the last few weeks has been making considerable changes in the collection which he has hitherto kept in his rooms. He is desirous of lending to our museum and that of the Union Centrale des Arts Décoratifs in Paris those objects which may be considered to be most suited for filling the existing vacancies in the collection of these institutions. He offered to lend us English and foreign silver and some more foreign porcelain. Messrs Wylde and Mitchell accordingly went to Mr. Fitzhenry's rooms and made their selection with great care. Mr. Fitzhenry has added also a few other things himself.' (26)

In loaning items from his collection to the V&A, Fitzhenry was following a common practice of English collectors which had existed since the founding years of the museum. Ann Eatwell has shown how, during the nineteenth century, the V&A pursued an innovative policy which actively encouraged lending. It was perceived as an efficient means of expanding the collection and filling display space. From its earliest years the museum had relied heavily on the good-will of collectors and pursued a policy of encouraging potential donors. Due to lack of funds, the museum had used loans from connoisseurs to increase the quantity and quality of its exhibitions, and many such loans eventually became permanent gifts. A dedicated Loan Court was established to give a central position to these loans. (27) The foundation of societies for collectors interested in the decorative arts, such as the Fine Arts Club in 1857, and its offshoot the Burlington Fine Arts Club in 1866 (both of which were founded by the first art curator at the V&A, Sir John Charles Robinson (1824-1913)), facilitated the museum in making contact with such collectors, winning their patronage and obtaining items for the collections. They could be actively encouraged to collect to fill gaps in the public collections. (28) An internal memo of 1908 already financially valued Fitzhenry's contributions to the museum's collections at 15,484-6-0. (29) This was before many of his most important gifts to the museum were made.

The Fitzhenry collection of French porcelain

During his lifetime, Fitzhenry established a collection of French porcelain of unsurpassed quality that displayed the technical and stylistic development of the different porcelain manufactories from the late-seventeenth century onwards. By 1905, a large part of it was on loan to the V&A museum, including specimens of Sèvres, St.Cloud, Chantilly and Mennecy. C.H. Wylde, curator of ceramics at the V&A, published an article in 'The Burlington Magazine' devoted to the loan collection. He praised Fitzhenry for having 'brought together by years of indefatigable industry both in England and the Continent probably the finest collection of French pâte-tendre in the United Kingdom', at a time when little if anything was known about early French soft-paste porcelain in Britain. Wylde saw the importance of Fitzhenry's collection as lying not just in the quality and breadth of the items, but primarily due to the rarity of such a collection in Britain in the early-twentieth century.

'It is only by a thorough knowledge of the history of the development of continental porcelain that our English productions can be properly understood, and the opportunity given by Mr. Fitzhenry's generous loan, which it is in his power to remove at any moment, is one of the extremely rare chances afforded to students and collectors in this country of seeing and comparing the various products of the early French factories.' (30)

This loan was just part of Fitzhenry's overall porcelain collection held at his Kensington apartment, and which part he later sold in Paris in 1909. The auction of the collection of 'Porcelaines tendres anciennes, françaises & étrangères' was handled by F. Lair-Dubreuil, and took place over four days, beginning on 13 December 1909. A preface to the auction catalogue was especially written by a leading French authority on ceramics, Count Xavier de Chavagnac (1846-1911). The motive for such a sale seems to have been to raise money to enable Fitzhenry to continue to indulge his passion for collecting. He seems to have prepared carefully for what he planned to be one of the most important sales of French porcelain in recent years. He moved to Paris over a month before the auction was scheduled, in order to supervise the preparations personally. His correspondence reveals he had high hopes.

'My sale promises to be a great success! People think it will make £12,000. If there is competition (very likely as there is no 'Pate Tendre' in the market) I cannot form an idea of the results! Anyhow, I will get enough to pay for all my late expensive art purchases (with something to spare!).' (31)

His high expectations appear to have been justified; writing a month later that he had 'a very successful sale in Paris' which would enable him 'to lay off all my 'arts' debts as soon as settled up!' (32)

Teabowl and trembleuse saucer, Saint-Cloud, about 1700-1715. Museum no. C.433&A-1909

Figure 2 - Teabowl and trembleuse saucer, Saint-Cloud, about 1700-1715. Soft paste porcelain painted in underglaze blue. Museum no. C.433&A-1909. Fitzhenry Gift

In 1909, Fitzhenry permanently donated his remaining collection of French porcelain which had been on view at the V&A. Some of the most beautiful examples of early porcelain in the V&A collection today are gifts from Fitzhenry, such as an exquisitely simple teabowl and saucer (c.1700-15) (fig. 2), rare examples of early European soft-paste porcelain from the Saint Cloud factory, and an elaborate mythological group (1745-52) in the spirit of the rococo artist François Boucher (1703-70) produced at the manufactory of Vincennes (fig. 3 ). This gift, along with an important collection of Dutch faience made at the same time, was a highly valued contribution to the national ceramics collection. As noted at the time:

This offer of Mr. Fitzhenry is, next to the Schreiber Gift, the most generous which has ever been made to the Museum, for although not so valuable as the Jones or the Sheepshanks Bequest, the gift of a valuable collection in the donor's lifetime is far more magnificent than the bequest after his death when it can no longer be of any value to him. (33)
Venus and Adonis, Mythological Group, 1750-55. Museum no. C.356-1909

Figure 3 - Venus and Adonis Mythological Group, Vicennes Porcelain Factory, France, 1750-55. Biscuit Porcelain with gilt metal mount. Museum no. C.356-1909. Fitzhenry Gift

Fitzhenry was in good company; Lady Charlotte Schreiber (1812-95) had been one of the earliest, most active and most successful English collectors of ceramics, along with other fields of the applied arts, including lace, fans and playing cards. Her donation of English ceramics to the V&A in 1884 largely established the national collection. Likewise, John Jones' important 1882 donation of French eighteenth-century furniture and porcelain, particularly Sèvres, greatly augmented the museum's holdings in this area, started in 1853 with objects from the collection of James Bandinel. (34) Fitzhenry's donation built on and enhanced these previously existing porcelain collections, and was perhaps more notable at the time as the visible success of a contemporary English collector, rather than for its specific scholarly value as a totality. Individual works were chosen for inclusion in Edward Dillon's 1904 publication,'Porcelain', which aimed to 'provide a definitive general survey of the history of the manufacture of porcelain, both Oriental and European, in the English language.' (35) Yet Fitzhenry's porcelain collection was never published by the museum as a catalogue. Perhaps if he had not separated and sold the collection, but retained it as a whole, it would have maintained a greater integral scholarly value.

The role of the Fitzhenry Gift

A striking characteristic of Fitzhenry, and one which must have been a contributing factor to his role as museum patron, was his awareness of the broader social potential of design, and the social role that could be played by his own collection. In the spirit of the 1851 Great Exhibition, Henry Cole (1808-82) and the origins of the V&A, he did not just collect for his own egotistical pleasure or reward, but he hoped that his collection would play a part in the continuation of contemporary British industrial design. (36) This is stated quite clearly in a letter of 1909: 'I have made some lovely purchases here especially French silver from 2 noted silversmiths and curio dealers here, so the 'provenance' is all right but (as I always do) I buy with the idea of benefitting our manufactures'. (37) Fitzhenry perceived that such designs could be of cultural interest and aesthetic inspiration to future generations of artists and designers. A central element of Fitzhenry's importance within the history of collecting lies in his recognition of the cultural value of the decorative arts, and the support he gave to the museums of design and the industrial arts which were founded in nineteenth-century Britain and Europe, one of the most influential of which was the V&A.

Despite this, Fitzhenry's art collection was also undoubtedly a means of obtaining prestige and status for himself. At the most basic level, it was a way of receiving public acknowledgement such as has been noted in Wylde's article on Fitzhenry's porcelain collection in 'The Burlington Magazine' . The fact that objects from Fitzhenry's collection were worthy of exhibition in a museum reflected on his personal success, both financially and academically: 'My triumph however is not that but securing the grandest 'Virgin' in walnut 'École de Bourgogne'. I just came from that country, 14th century and simply as grand a work as any museum holds!' (38) Nor was Fitzhenry shy about boasting of the aesthetic and financial value of his collection, or of his donations to public collections. For example, when in 1909 he was considering presenting his valuable collection of French porcelain to the V&A, he wrote to Sir Cecil: 'I want to see you about the presenting to the Museum (at once) my superb collection of Pate Tendre. I own that it is a fine gift.' (39)

There were many instances when the V&A accepted unwanted loans or gifts from Fitzhenry out of appreciation for the many valued past gifts, and the hope of future ones. One example of many occurred in 1904 when the museum board rejected a gift of pewter offered by Fitzhenry. The action motivated many of the curators to urge the acceptance of the gift, particularly A.B. Skinner. In this instance, Skinner wrote a strongly-worded memo to the director.

'He is, as you know, a great benefactor of the Museum, having presented us with many valuable works of art which our funds would not allow us to buy. To mention one or two, you will remember that he has given us a very valuable collection of Italian tiles, which we could not possibly have expected to possess except through the generosity of some donor. He wished the other day to purchase for the Museum, and to give, a portion of the architectural details of the Château de Montal, but the lot for which he gave instructions to his broker exceeded his limit. I do not think it is really right that such generosity and interest should be respected in this way, and I beg leave very strongly to recommend that Mr. Oglivie be asked to allow us to keep these specimens of pewter and to thank Mr. Fitzhenry for his kindness towards the museum.' (40)

On this occasion, after much discussion, the museum board eventually agreed to accept the gift. The 'valuable collection of Italian tiles', referred to by Skinner in the above memo, are a collection of earthenware painted floor tiles commissioned in the 1490s by the Gonzagas of Mantua. Decorated with a variety of Gonzaga family mottoes and emblems, they were used to adorn the studio of Isabella d'Este. (41) More disagreement arose when Fitzhenry wished to present a Roman fresco, a nineteenth-century copy of a fourteenth-century original and in poor condition, picked up during Fitzhenry's 1910 trip to Rome. Internal museum memos show there was general consensus among the curatorial staff that the loan should not be accepted, there being no exhibition space for the object, and it being in such poor condition it would not be suitable to exhibit anyway. However, once again Fitzhenry's allies in the museum stepped in, with Skinner writing to the director.

'Had this been an ordinary loan I should have recommended its refusal because we have no room to exhibit it. But I have heard there is some prospect of Mr. Fitzhenry's loans becoming eventually the property of the nation, so that if this fresco were now refused, the Museum might lose it forever, while if it were accepted it might some day become a permanent possession.' (42)

The loan was eventually accepted, though after much debate. The museum was evidently courting Fitzhenry. Ironically, Fitzhenry seems to have been wise to this policy of placation; concerning a donation offered to the museum in 1903, he peevishly declared that he did not 'want it down as a favour, as I would rather give it to the oratory of some 'Popish Church' than have it stored away in a 'cornor' as it is a good thing'. (43)

Relationships at the museum

Fitzhenry took an active part in the daily activities of the museum, at times acting on behalf of other important museum donors such as J. Pierpont Morgan. For example, in 1909 he supervised the installation of a loan collection of Gobelins tapestries made by Morgan to the V&A. He took an interest in the most minute details of how his loans and gifts, and those of his clients, were presented - cases, lighting, room positioning, information cards - nothing was considered irrelevant.

Fitzhenry's officious attitude does not always seem to have been appreciated by staff members, and perhaps inevitably he seems to have stepped on more than a few toes in his eagerness to participate and manage how his collection was presented and maintained. Nevertheless, he had close friendships with the director, Sir Cecil Smith, as well as with many of the curatorial staff. A mark of what could be perceived as either extraordinary generosity or arrogance was his offer to finance a study-trip for the Keeper of Sculpture and Architecture, A.B. Skinner, with whom he maintained a friendly relationship. (44) Writing to Sir Cecil Smith on Skinner's behalf to petition for three weeks leave of absence, Fitzhenry made it clear he would organise and finance the trip himself. Evidently Fitzhenry very much saw himself in the role as 'tutor' imparting knowledge to a student (despite Skinner's professional expertise).

'I am so glad you find it feasible to let Skinner come for a three-week tour with me, in the home of the 'Arts' (Sculpture and Architecture, Italian and Greek, he is so saturated with). He has to 'chalk out' the tour, as I want him to see everything we can (in the time) likely to improve his knowledge and taste in those 2 categories.' (45)

The museum acted as a second home to Fitzhenry. In the summer of 1910, when most curatorial staff were away enjoying holidays, Fitzhenry could write to the director that 'I dwell in the museum and have a Daily Tea Party'. (46) In such a sense, the staff at the museum seems to have almost fulfilled the role of surrogate family.

As has been noted above, it was widely accepted by museum staff that at his death, Fitzhenry would bequeath everything on loan at the Victoria & Albert to the museum. Nevertheless, to the surprise of all concerned, Fitzhenry changed his mind shortly before his death, apparently due to increasing ill health and mounting medical bills. Director Sir Cecil Smith recorded the event in a memo in 1912.

On the 15th inst. Mr. Fitzhenry called on me. He informed me that during his recent illness his doctor had urged on him the necessity of making some arrangements for the disposal of his collection after his death; and that in consequence he had made a will and appointed an executor…He explained to me that, although his desire is that the whole of his collection now on loan to us shall become our property, circumstances are not such as to permit him to make a free gift of them now, as he would like to do. (47)

Fitzhenry aspired to create a national art collection which would mirror those of friends such as Salting and Wallace. Yet, without the financial independence these friends enjoyed, Fitzhenry's aspirations could not ultimately be met. However, Fitzhenry had directly contributed to official museum policy regarding the formation of its collections. After Fitzhenry's death, his entire loan collection to the V&A had to be sold, which created significant voids in the museum collection. The director wrote to one of the museum's trustees:

'Mr. J.H. Fitzhenry who recently died, had on deposit here a large collection which it was always understood he was going to bequeath to the Museum. It was, indeed, so much regarded as an accepted fact that our policy of purchase was to some extent governed by the idea that certain gaps were already filled by the Fitzhenry exhibits.' (48)

Further corroboration of this policy is provided in' The Burlington Magazine' by an anonymous reviewer of 'Principal Acquisitions of the Victoria & Albert Museum', who, in 1915, lamented 'the removal of the late Mr. Fitzhenry's long loans to the [V&A] museum caused great gaps in the French and Italian sculpture'. (49) A case-list was compiled of artifacts lent by Fitzhenry to the museum and still housed there at his death - over a forty year period from his earliest loan in 1870, over 3,150 items had been lent, artifacts which now were removed and dispersed. (50)


In the opening quotation of this article, Sir Cecil Smith described Fitzhenry's donations to the V&A as 'the most valuable and generous gift…ever made…within the lifetime of the donor'. Although an important figure in the history of the V&A, such fervent praise should in hindsight be viewed as words of gratitude in acknowledgment of many past acts of generosity and with the hope of many more future ones. While his posthumous reputation as an art collector has undoubtedly suffered due to the breaking up of the larger part of his collections, Fitzhenry nevertheless deserves to be remembered for the donation of many important gifts which helped to form and complete departmental collections, as well as for the support, both professionally and financially, he sought to give a newly developing museum. Fitzhenry offers an interesting insight into the complex relationship between the museum and such dealer-collectors, and the valuable role played by more modest donations in the overall shaping of the national collection.


(1) V&A: MA/1/F677/13 -Ref: AM 3234-09 / AM 4690-09; 1910. The original punctuation, spelling and grammar are retained in the quoted extracts from the correspondence of J.H. Fitzhenry.

(2) V&A: MA/1/F677/13 -Ref: AM 3234-09 / AM 4690-09; 7 June 1910, Letter from Sir Cecil Smith to Fitzhenry. The original punctuation, spelling and grammar are retained in the quoted extracts from the correspondence of J.H. Fitzhenry.

(3) A reconstruction of the life and career of J.H. Fitzhenry is for the most part reliant on the body of his surviving correspondence in the archives of the V&A, as well as his 1913 obituary in The Times.

(4) Obituary. The Times. 18 March 1913.

(5) Unfortunately no visual image of J.H. Fitzhenry has yet been identified. At least one portrait of him is known to have been produced, a 1908 portrait by Sir William Orpen (1878-1931) which was sold by Christies in 1913. Its present location is unknown.

(6) The Times. 29 August 1913.

(7) V&A: MA/1/F677/22 -Internal memo

(8) Baker, Malcolm and Brenda Richardson, eds. A Grand Design: The Art of the Victoria and Albert Museum. London, 1997. Burton, Anthony. Vision and Accident: The Story of the Victoria & Albert Museum. London, 1999.

(9) Eatwell, Anne. 'Borrowing from Collectors: The role of the Loan in the Formation of the Victoria and Albert Museum and its Collection (1852-1932)'. Decorative Arts Society Journal 24 (2000): 21-29. Wainwright, Clive. 'The Making of the South Kensington Museum: Part III - "Collecting Abroad"'. Journal of the History of Collections 14:1. 45-61; '"A gatherer and disposer of other men's stuffe". Murray Marks, connoisseur and curiosity dealer'. Journal of the History of Collections 14:1. 161-176.

(10) However since the first draft of this article was written in the summer of 2009, the V&A has opened Phase 1 of the new Ceramic Galleries. Judith Crouch's online essay 'The Formation of the Ceramics Galleries' acknowledges for the first time Fitzhenry's contributions to the museum's ceramic collection. See https://www.vam.ac.uk/collections/ceramics/new_ceramics_galleries/formation_ceramics/index.html. [Accessed 13/10/2009]

(11) V&A, Fitzhenry Files (1817-1913), MA/1/F677/1 to MA/1/F677/22 inclusive. To date no other personal papers or correspondence relating to Fitzhenry have been located by this author.

(12) V&A: MA/1/F677/8 -Ref: 81469; 20 January 1905, Letter from W.W. Watts to A.B. Skinner

(13) V&A: MA/1/F677/8 -Ref: 17379/05; 3 November 1905, A.B. Skinner, memo

(14) The Burlington Magazine. 1907, vol.11: 117.

(15) 'International Exhibition of Miniatures'. The Times. 6 February 1912.

(16) 'Fitzhenry Collection to be Sold'. The New York Times. 31 August 1913.

(17) See for example V&A: MA/1/F677/13 -Ref: AM 3342; June 29th 1909, Letter from Fitzhenry to Sir Cecil Smith; V&A: MA/1/F677/14 -Ref: AM 2645/09; May 21st 1910, Letter from Fitzhenry to Arthur B. Skinner

(18) The South Kensington Museum was established in 1852 following the success of the Great Exhibition of 1851, and was run by the Department of Science and Art. One of the primary functions of the museum was to disseminate knowledge about manufactures, aesthetics and culture, in the hope of fostering modern British industry. It was renamed the V&A in 1899.

(19) V&A: MA/1/F677/15 -Ref: AM 6263; List of gifts from J.H. Fitzhenry, 1870 to 1908

(20) See for example, V&A: MA/1/F677/1- Ref. 1817; Letter from Fitzhenry to V&A

(21) The details of the Fitzhenry sale were reported in The Times, 29 August, and 18-27 November 1913

(22) V&A: MA/1/F677/5 -Ref: 22521; 2 September 1902, Memo from H.P. Mitchell to W.W. Watts

(23) Registration no. 62-1903. V&A: MA/1/F677/5 -Ref: 90837; 23 February 1903, Report by A.B. Skinner. Current scholarship now equates the Master of the Pellegrini Chapel with Michele da Firenze (active 1404-43). Paoletti, J.T. & G.M. Radke. Art in Renaissance Italy. London, 2005, 3rd edition: 337.

(24) V&A: MA/1/F677/14 -Ref: AM 5380; 1 November 1909, Letter from Fitzhenry to Sir Cecil Smith

(25) V&A: MA/1/F677/5 -Ref: 22521; 2 September 1902, Memo from H.P. Mitchell to W.W. Watts

(26) V&A: MA/1/F677/11 -Ref: M729/07; 14 February [1907], Letter from A.B. Skinner to Mr. Oglivie

(27) Eatwell, Anne. 'Borrowing from Collectors: The role of the Loan in the Formation of the Victoria and Albert Museum and its Collection (1852-1932)'. Decorative Arts Society Journal 24 (2000): 21-29.

(28) The initial research on the topic was led by Eatwell, Anne. 'The Collector's or Fine Arts Club 1857-1874: the First Society for Collectors of the Decorative Arts'. Decorative Arts Society Journal 18 (1994): 25-301; and Wainwright, C. 'The Making of the South Kensington Museum: Part III - "Collecting Abroad"'. Journal of the History of Collections 14:1 (2002): 45-61. See also published histories on the V&A for cursory discussions on the most prominent collectors.

(29) V&A: MA/1/F677/15 -Ref: AM 6263; List of gifts from J.H. Fitzhenry, 1870 to 1908.

(30) Wylde, C.H. 'Mr. Fitzhenry's collection of early French pâte-tendre'. The Burlington Magazine. 1905, 28: 188-201.

(31) V&A: MA/1/F677/14 -Ref: AM 5380; November 1st 1909, Letter from Fitzhenry to Sir Cecil Smith

(32) V&A: MA/1/F677/14 -Ref: AM 6160; December 18th 1909, Letter from Fitzhenry to Sir Cecil Smith

(33) V&A: MA/1/F677/13 -Ref: AM 3234-09; 4 August 1909, Memo from C.H. Wylde to Sir Cecil Smith. Wylde valued the bequest at approximately £6,317. There is unfortunately no evidence in published sources to show that Lady Schreiber and Fitzhenry were acquainted, though it is highly feasible that the two must have met, being both such active collectors of ceramics and highly involved with the V&A.

(34) See Crouch for a concise history of the formation of the V&A's ceramic galleries. https://www.vam.ac.uk/collections/ceramics/new_ceramics_galleries/formation_ceramics/index.html. [Accessed 13/10/2009]

(35) Dillon, E. Porcelain. London, 1904. Five works from Fitzhenry's collection, principally eighteenth-century French, were chosen to be illustrated in the book

(36) Henry Cole was the first director of the South Kensington Museum (later called the V&A) from 1857-73

(37) V&A: MA/1/F677/14 -Ref: AM 6223; 30 December 1909, Letter from Fitzhenry to Sir Cecil Smith

(38) (V&A: MA/1/F677/1 -Ref: 377; 19 [January 1891], Letter from Fitzhenry to Richard Thompson. Richard Thompson had been Assistant Director at the V&A retiring in 1891

(39) V&A: MA/1/F677/13 -Ref: AM 3342; 29 June [1909], Letter from Fitzhenry to Sir Cecil Smith

(40) V&A: MA/1/F677/7 -Ref: T80614; 18 February 1904, Internal memo by A.B. Skinner

(41) V&A: Reg. No. 334: 1-1903 to 334:6-1903

(42) V&A: MA/1/F677/18 -Ref: 2913M; 8 August 1910, Memo from A.B. Skinner (?) to Sir Cecil Smith

(43) V&A: MA/1/F677/5 -Ref: 2913M; 11 February [?] 1903, Letter from Fitzhenry to Unknown

(44) Arthur Banks Skinner (1861-1911) was Director of the V&A from 1905 to 1908, until he was replaced by Sir Cecil Smith, who directed the museum until 1924. Skinner was relegated to Keeper of the Department of Architecture and Sculpture.

(45) V&A: MA/1/F677/16 -Ref: 10/174; 2 February 1910, Letter from Fitzhenry to Sir Cecil Smith

(46) V&A: MA/1/F677/18 -Ref: 10/34737; 30 August 1910, Letter from Fitzhenry to Sir Cecil Smith

(47) V&A: MA/1/F677/20 -Ref: 5361M; 18 October 1912, Internal record by Sir Cecil Smith of interview with Fitzhenry)

(48) V&A: MA/1/F677/21, 3 October 1913, Transcript of letter from Sir Cecil Smith to Sir Wyndham Murray

(49) The Burlington Magazine. 1915, 28: no.151.

(50) This figure did not include the numerous gifts he had previously presented to the museum. Although the V&A were thwarted of so much of Fitzhenry's collection, the museum was given preferential choice on artefacts from the collection before it went to auction at Christie's.