Past Events

A Passion for British Art: Collecting in the 20th Century


  • 18 January 2008
  • 9:45 – 7:30 pm
  • Public Study Room, Paul Mellon Centre
Painting of boats

Joseph Mallord William Turner, Dort or Dordrecht: The Dort packet-boat from Rotterdam becalmed,, 1818, oil on canvas,

Digital image courtesy of Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection, B1977.14.77

This one-day conference to be held at the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, will discuss issues related to the collection of the late Paul Mellon (1907-1999), and the exhibition, An American’s Passion for British Art. Paul Mellon’s Legacy, at the Royal Academy of Arts, London (20 October 2007 - 27 January 2008). Paul Mellon’s collection, which embraces paintings, watercolours, drawings, prints, sculptures, rare books and manuscripts is among the finest of its kind to have been assembled in the twentieth century. Although it encompasses works from many periods and cultures, at the heart of the Mellon collection are pictures from the ‘Golden Age’ of British art, from the mid-eighteenth to mid-nineteenth century. Among modern private collectors, however, Mr Mellon was not alone in his appreciation of the merits of the British School, and this conference aims to set his achievement within the global context of modern and contemporary collecting.