Historic Temple Newsam House, part of Leeds Museums and Galleries, has recently acquired part of a major gift presented through the American Friends of The Art Fund by the widow of Sir Arthur Gilbert, founder of the Gilbert Collection, an outstanding collection of decorative arts currently housed in London’s V&A.
Marjorie, Lady Gilbert gave two items of silverware to the museum: a silver-gilt cup by Foglino (c. 1842) and a Ming ewer with silver mounts decorated in niello (c. 1600).
Skipton-born Lady Gilbert now lives in America, but chose to allocate her gift through the American Friends of The Art Fund to a museum in her native West Yorkshire. Temple Newsam House, near Leeds, has a fine silverware collection and is therefore an ideal location for these exquisite pieces.
Lady Gilbert’s gift is the first donation in kind to be made through the American Friends of The Art Fund, an organization through which US tax payers are able to support UK based independent charity The Art Fund in a tax-efficient manner.
Andrew Macdonald, Acting Director of The Art Fund, said: “This gift marks a new departure for The Art Fund and we hope it will pave the way for future gifts from overseas. Thanks to Lady Gilbert’s generosity, these two wonderful objects will be admired within the beautiful setting of Temple Newsam House for years to come.”
James Lomax, Curator, Temple Newsam House, said: ‘We are delighted with Lady Gilbert’s gift. These splendid works of art provide a rich new dimension to the collections at Temple Newsam. There is nothing quite like them among our decorative art holdings and we are confident that visitors will enjoy and learn from them.”
Leeds City Council Executive Member for Leisure Councillor John Procter said: “We are delighted to accept the very generous donation of these two wonderful pieces of silverware and we are very grateful to Lady Gilbert and The Art Fund for their fantastic support. They will fit in perfectly with the excellent silverware collection at Temple Newsam House and we look forward to seeing them on display.”
The local MP for Leeds East, George Mudie, said: “I am thrilled that Temple Newsam House has taken ownership of these two beautiful objects and I’d like to pay tribute to the generosity of Lady Gilbert, and to the American Friends of The Art Fund for helping this to happen. The pieces will be a wonderful addition to Temple Newsam House’s fine silverware collection.”
Lady Gilbert has also donated a pair of Dutch silver gilt and filigree Torah finials (c. 1780) and a pair of silver Dordrecht cups and covers (1592) to the Victoria and Albert Museum, also through the American Friends of The Art Fund.
Since 1930, Temple Newsam House has received £527,225 worth of monetary grants from The Art Fund towards the acquisition of 103 objects, including a wide array of paintings, furniture, ceramics and silverware. The museum has also received an additional 80 objects as gifts or bequests through The Art Fund.
Image: Marjorie, Lady Gilbert gave two items of silverware to the museum: a silver-gilt cup by Foglino (c. 1842) and a Ming ewer with silver mounts decorated in niello (c. 1600)