Acquisition of the Peel Collection

Scope and Content

Seven letters relating to the acquisition of the Peel Collection. Three letters are from Eliza Stonor, Sir Robert Peel's daughter, to Juliana Hume Campbell and four from William Gladstone or his secretary Algernon West to Sir Hugh Hume Campbell.

Administrative / Biographical History

Sir Robert Peel (1788-1850) was Prime Minister, 1834-1835 and 1841-1846. He was also a Trustee of the National Gallery from 1827 until his death.

From about 1820, Peel began to collect pictures. By the time of his death, his collection included nearly seventy 17th century Dutch and Flemish works, about 60 British pictures and drawings by Rubens and Van Dyck which had previously belonged to Thomas Lawrence.

His son, Sir Robert Peel (1822-1895), acquired further works however financial problems forced him into a decision to sell the collection at Christies in 1871. After negotiations, the Gallery managed to purchase most of the Peel collection for £75,000. The purchase included 68 Dutch and Flemish works, 10 British pictures and 16 drawings.

Some pictures from the collection have subsequently been transferred to other institutions: drawings were transferred to the British Museum, British pictures to the Tate, and portraits to the National Portrait Gallery.


The letters are arranged chronologically

Access Information


Custodial History

The letters were given to the Gallery in 1931 by Mrs Eleanor Warrender, the granddaughter of Sir Hugh Hume Campbell.

Related Material

NG14/128 Boxall's [Director] correspondence re negotiations for acquisition of Peel Collection, Feb-Jun 1871

NG5/439 & 440 Correspondence re grant for acquisition of Peel Collection, Mar 1871

NG5/467 Financial statement for purchase of Peel Collection, Jun 1873

NG1 Trustees minutes 1871

NG17 Annual Report 1871