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‘The artist’s cause at heart’: M.H. Spielmann, Collector and Donor

Past display archive
18 November 2014 - 19 September 2015

Room 28: case display


Marion Harry Spielmann
by John Henry Frederick Bacon
NPG 4352

The son of a banker, Marion Harry Spielmann (1858-1948) was a 28 year-old art critic when he was appointed editor of the Magazine of Art in 1886. Under his ‘vigorous and original editing’ it flourished a further 17 years.  He aimed to explain the contemporary art world to the public, and to encourage consumer patronage. Artists were invited to write about fellow artists; and he ran articles such as ‘Should there be a British Artists Room in the New National Portrait Gallery?’(1890), and ‘Suggestions for a New Fine Art Copyright Act’(1893). He also wrote perceptively about graphic (‘Black and White’) artists, and the New Sculpture movement.

This display throws light on M.H. Spielmann’s discreet but powerful reputation in the Victorian and Edwardian art worlds. It celebrates his activities as an editor, writer and collector. And it exposes the generosity with which he disposed of his collections to the Gallery, an institution whose interests he had long championed. 

© National Portrait Gallery, London


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