Announcing the Acquisition of the Nicholas Goodison Archive

  • 30 June 2022

The Nicholas Goodison Archive has recently been acquired by the Paul Mellon Centre. The collection consists of ninety-four boxes of material collected and created by Sir Nicholas Goodison (1934–2021) in relation to his life-long interest in the visual and decorative arts.

Goodison (1934–2021) is perhaps best known for his distinguished career in the city, most notably undertaking reforms to the London Stock Exchange known as ‘Big Bang’. He studied at Marlborough College and Kings College, Cambridge and joined the family firm of HE Goodison in 1958, (later Quilter Goodison), and became a partner in 1968. In 1976 he became chairman of the London Stock Exchange, and later moved on to chair the TSB banking group in 1988. Alongside his busy financial career, he was also a keen supporter, collector and scholar of the decorative arts. His particular interests were barometers, ormolu ornaments and the manufacturer Matthew Boulton. In 2004 he led an independent inquiry concerning ‘Saving Art for the Nation’. This culminated in the publication of the Goodison Review: Securing the Best for Our Museums: Private Giving and Government Support which led to the establishment of the Cultural Gifts Scheme that was given royal assent in 2012.

The archive comprises material created and collected by Goodison in relation to his academic work and interests. Most of the material relates to his research on barometers, ormolu, Matthew Boulton and the history of furniture. There are research notes, photographs, articles, correspondence and questionnaires relating to the Goodison Review.

The collection, kindly donated by his widow Judith Goodison in 2022, is the first archive held at the Centre devoted specifically to the visual and decorative arts. It also enhances the Centre’s holdings concerning the significant individuals and networks who influenced the field, particularly regarding support and patronage of British art.

The Goodison Archive has not yet been catalogued, but a box list is available and the material is open for consultation. For more information on the Paul Mellon Centre’s collections see here.