Dante Gabriel Rossetti, The Death of Breuse San Pitié, Watercolour and bodycolour, 1857, reworked circa 1864-1865. Accepted by HM Government in lieu of Inheritance Tax from the John Christian Collection and allocated to the British Museum, 2019.

Past exhibition

3 September – 12 November 2019

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John Christian (1942–2016) was an art historian, curator and collector, and contributed greatly to the understanding and appreciation of Pre-Raphaelite and late Victorian art.

As a practising artist and art lover as well as a scholar, he amassed an impressive collection of ceramics, prints, drawings and watercolours. Built up over decades, his collection was acquired by the British Museum in March 2019.

Christian was fascinated by artistic processes and clearly appreciated sketchbooks, working drawings and prints in different states. He would often collect similar subjects in varied media, by artists working in different countries and centuries. He also supported many practising artists. This small display of Christian's collection positioned works by Ford Madox Brown and Dante Gabriel Rossetti alongside Benjamin Robert Haydon, Walter Crane, Charles Hazelwood Shannon and George Frederick Watts, and the influential work of female artists including Dorothy Hawksley and Eleanor Vere Boyle.

The display offered food for thought for art lovers, artists and art historians alike – and celebrated the joy of looking and possibilities of the imagination.

The Death of Breuse San Pitié was accepted by HM Government in lieu of Inheritance Tax from the John Christian Collection and allocated to the British Museum, 2019.