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October 1991

Vol. 133 | No. 1063

The Burlington Magazine


Samsons and Philistines: The University Museums

  • William Coningham and His Collection of Old Masters

    By Francis Haskell

    LOVERS of the National Gallery will inevitably have mixed feelings about William Coningham. On the one hand he presented to it two beautiful panels of Adoring saints by Lorenzo Monaco (nos.215 and 216; Figs.7 and 8) which have come sensationally into their own in the new Sainsbury wing and it was, indirectly, from his collection that the Gallery was able to acquire some of the very finest Old Masters now to be seen there. On the other hand he was a spiteful and vindictive critic of all its policies at the very time when knowledgeable support was most needed: and as a Member of Parliament and an exceptionally cultivated man he could have provided both knowledge and support.