Richard Beresford: Victorian Visions

No ordinary collector

Christopher Menz


Victorian Visions: Nineteenth-Century Art from the John Schaeffer Collection
by Richard Beresford
Art Gallery of New South Wales, $45 pb, 175 pp, 97817417405578


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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Published in November 2010 no. 326
Christopher Menz

Christopher Menz

Christopher Menz is a former Director of the Art Gallery of South Australia (2005–10) and in 2011–12 was Acting Director of The Ian Potter Museum of Art, The University of Melbourne. Prior to these roles, he held curatorial positions at the National Gallery of Australia, the Art Gallery of South Australia, and the National Gallery of Victoria, specialising in decorative arts. He has published extensively on the decorative arts, notably the design work of William Morris, and is a regular contributor to ABR.

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