Notes on the John Julius Angerstein Collection

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 345 NGA12
  • Former Reference
      GB 345 NG50
  • Dates of Creation
  • Physical Description
      4 items

Scope and Content

The notes record the provenance and prices of pictures acquired by Angerstein and include descriptions of the works, anecdotes about auctions attended by Angerstein and comments made to him on his collection. They may be early drafts for John Young's 'Catalogue of the Celebrated Collection of Pictures of the Late John Julius Angerstein Esq' (London, 1823) since they lack the full description of the pictures that appears in the published catalogue.

Administrative / Biographical History

John Julius Angerstein (merchant, philanthropist and art collector) was born in St Petersburg in 1735. In 1759 he came to England and at the age of 21 was introduced to the marine insurance business at Lloyd's in the City of London. He became the leading insurance underwriter of his day and his commercial success enabled him to build up a collection of paintings.

Angerstein's collection was small by the standards of other London collectors, however, it was seen as one of the most select. It was known for its examples of Old Master painting and for the high prices that Angerstein was prepared to pay to acquire such works. His choice of acquisitions were often influenced by the advice of his close friend, the artist Thomas Lawrence [his correspondence with Lawrence is held at the Royal Academy, London].

Upon his death in 1823, the House of Commons voted £60,000 for the purchase of Angerstein's collection, which was to form the nucleus of a new national collection. The pictures initially went on display to the public at Angerstein's town house at 100 Pall Mall, London, but were transferred to Trafalgar Square in 1838 upon completion of the National Gallery building designed by William Wilkins.

These notes, possibly made by John Young, describe pictures in Angerstein's home at 100 Pall Mall. 'A Catalogue of the Celebrated Collection of Pictures of the Late John Julius Angerstein' written by John Young was published in London in 1823.

Access Information


Available to researchers by appointment with the Archivist.

Custodial History

The notes were part of some miscellaneous Lawrence papers purchased by Kenneth Garlick of the Barber Institute of Fine Arts in Birmingham prior to 1961. They were given by Garlick to the National Gallery Library in June 1961, and transferred to the Archive in 1995.


No accruals are expected.

Related Material

London Metropolitan Archives, Executors of John Julius Angerstein: correspondence relative to purchase by the government of the Angerstein collection of paintings [Ref. F/ANG/032].