Last weekend I was reading on the BBC website about the discovery of a "lost" portrait painting by Rubens of George Villiers, the 1st Duke of Buckingham (d.1628).
It turned out the painting was lost in plain view hanging and on public display in Glasgow's Pollok House stately home.
Overpainting and accumulated dirt meant it was thought to be a later copy by another artist, however forensic work and research has now enabled the work to be correctly attributed to Rubens.
This story struck a chord with me, thinking about all those historic collections around the World that have been dispersed and re-assembled into other collections over time. It also reminded me of an earlier blog I have written about James Tennant (1808-1881).
The lost Arc?
The other thread to the Tennant story which is quite interesting is the sale and subsequent "disappearance" of Tennant's collection.
In 1880 Tennant decided to retire and he put his stock and premises up for sale; however he did not live to see this completed, and in 1882 his huge stock was auctioned off.
During this time his personal collection of some 2,600 of his best selected specimens, housed in a vast mahogany cabinet disappeared and have not been traced since.
It is known that this contained portions of other historical collections including Sir John St Aubyn and the Duke of Buckingham!!
A different Duke of Buckingham (George Villiers, the second d.1687) however it is an interesting connection between the two stories.
Following up on the Tennant collection the Oxford University Museum of Natural History does have specimens formerly belonging to John Ruskin and the 2nd Duke of Buckingham in the mineral collection of publisher George Allen.
George Allen (1832-1907) and John Ruskin (1819 -1900) we both contempory to Tennant and possibly purchasers of Buckingham's minerals.
So maybe here is another opportunity to solve the Tennant mystery, with the evidence in plain view like the Rubens painting.