For an Australian collector to have amassed one substantial and internationally recognised collection of Victorian art during the late twentieth century is unusual. Having parted with the first and replaced it with a second, amassed in the twenty-first, is extraordinary. But then John Schaeffer – whose second collection was the subject of a catalogue and recent exhibition at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, entitled Victorian Visions: Nineteenth-Century Art from the John Schaeffer Collection – is no ordinary collector. He is one of the leading collectors of Victorian art. While some of the famous names – Rossetti and Burne-Jones – are represented by designs and drawings;there are major paintings by J.W. Waterhouse and William Holman Hunt, and others, that have been included in recent international touring exhibitions and that would enhance any of the three principal Australian collections of Victorian pictures, the state galleries in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney.
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