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Later Victorian Portraits Catalogue

George Salting (1835-1909), Art collector and benefactor

Art collector and benefactor; born 15 August 1835, in Sydney, Australia, the elder son of Danish parents. Educated Eton College, England 1848–53 and University of Sydney, Australia 1857; the family business Flower, Salting & Co. (mainly Australian wool export) immensely profitable; family returned to England 1858; formative visit to Rome, winter 1858–9; father’s death in 1865 left Salting with an annual income of £30,000; from then on divided time between shrewd management of inheritance and obsessive collecting, especially oriental porcelain, Italian Renaissance bronzes and maiolica, and old master paintings and drawings; died of pneumonia in modest rooms over the Thatched House Club, 86 St James’s Street, on 12 December 1909; unmarried, he bequeathed a priceless collection to his adoptive country. [1]

his extraordinary wealth and his personal miserliness gave rise to many stories of his having ‘paid sixpence for his tea, or three shillings for a dinner on the same day that he had bought a picture for £5,000’. [2]

Carol Blackett-Ord

Footnotesback to top

1) ‘The trustees of the National Gallery were allowed to select his pictures, and those of the British Museum his prints and drawings, while the Victoria and Albert Museum was the recipient of all his other collections (more than 2500 objects).’ Coppel 2004.
2) Coppel 2004.

Referencesback to top

Coppell 2004
Coppell, S., ‘Salting, George (1835–1909)’, ODNB, Oxford, 2004; online ed., October 2006.

Griffiths 1996
Griffiths, A.V., Landmarks in Print Collecting, London, 1996.

Holmes 1936
Holmes, Sir C.J., Self and Partners (Mostly Self), London, 1936.

O’Donoghue 1908–22
O’Donoghue, F., Catalogue of Engraved British Portraits preserved in the Department of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum, 5 vols, London, 1908–22 (and vol.6, H.M. Hake, Supplement and indexes, 1925).

Read 1910
Read, C.H., ‘George Salting’, Burlington Magazine, no.83, February 1910, pp.248–51 (obits).

Read 1912
Read, C.H., ‘Salting, George (1835–1909)’, DNB, London, 1912.

Who Was Who 1972
Who Was Who, vol.6, A Companion to Who’s Who Containing the Biographies of Those Who Died During the Decade 1961–1970, 1st ed., London, 1972.

Williamson 1996
Williamson, P., ed., European Sculpture in the V&A, London, 1996.