CEEH Centro de Estudios Europa Hispánica

Collecting Murillo in Britain and Ireland


Isabelle Kent (ed.) and others


352 pages; 136 color illustrations; hardcover with chrome; 21 x 24 cm


English; in association with The Wallace Collection; 2020





The art of Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617–1682) captured the British imagination in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Wealthy collectors competed for the choicest pictures, artists imitated his styles and adopted his subjects, and much ink was spilled in praise of the painter. While Murillo’s popularity waned in the twentieth century, his legacy lives on in the great public collections of British and Irish museums – unrivalled outside of Spain.

This book explores the collectors, connoisseurs, travellers and artists who brought Murillo’s art to prominence in the British Isles. Twelve distinguished academics and curators examine in rich detail how the taste for this artist grew and changed over the course of two centuries. They reassess collectors from Robert Walpole and Lawrence Dundas to John Meade, William Eden and Alfred Beit in light of the great value they placed on the Spaniard’s works, and consider in depth early scholarship by Richard Ford and William Stirling Maxwell. The complex networks of diplomats, travellers and expats in Madrid and Seville are scrutinised by scholars whose complementary approaches highlight the great interest in Murillo’s art in the period. Using a wealth of archival material, much of it unpublished, the authors have cast new light on these individuals, their collections and their relationship with an artist who helped shape British tastes for over a century.

Edited by Isabelle Kent, with texts by Thomas Bean, Xavier Bray, Hugh Brigstocke, Xanthe Brooke, José Luis Colomer, Véronique Gerard Powell, Claudia Hopkins, Isabelle Kent, Hilary Macartney, Philip McEvansoneya, Thierry Morel and Robert Wenley.