We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of New South Wales stands.

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European art

Ford Madox Brown, Chaucer at the court of Edward III 1847—1851

Ford Madox Brown Chaucer at the court of Edward III 1847-51 (detail), Art Gallery of New South Wales, purchased 1876

Support the European art acquisition fund for pre 20th-century works

The core of the Gallery’s pre-1900 European collection is a group of important British 19th-century paintings including works by Ford Madox Brown, Frederic Leighton and Edward Poynter. These were among the Gallery’s first purchases. Today, we boast one of the major holdings of Victorian art outside the United Kingdom – recently enlarged further with the assistance of John Schaeffer.

Our collection of Old Masters from the Netherlandish, French and Italian schools has been transformed through the generosity and commitment of James Fairfax. Over the years, he has donated works by such artists as van Ruisdael, Rubens, Canaletto, Claude, Boucher, Amigoni, Domenico and Tiepolo, and drawings by Ingres, Watteau, Fragonard and Greuze. These gifts have provided impetus and direction to the development of this previously under-represented aspect of the Gallery’s collection.

Our collecting policy is to build on existing strengths. We are particularly keen to add to our holdings of earlier Italian and Netherlandish schools, 19th-century French paintings, drawings related to paintings in the collection, and various areas and periods of European printmaking.