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World-famous Royal Holloway Paintings on display for Heritage Open Day

Posted on 25/08/2011

The Babylonian Marriage Market by Edwin Long is one of the paintings on display in the Picture Gallery.

Visitors will get a rare opportunity to view the Royal Holloway art collection which returns to the College’s Picture Gallery following a three-year tour of the United States of America.

Royal Holloway, University of London will open the doors to its Grade I listed Founder’s building during Heritage Open Day, on Sunday 11 September, which celebrates England’s architecture and culture by allowing visitors free access to interesting properties that are either not usually open to the public, or would normally charge an entrance fee.

As well as viewing the Royal Collection, visitors will also be able to go on tours of the campus visiting the Windsor Building, which is a stark contrast to the historical Founders building, and the Boilerhouse, an iron-beamed, lantern-topped Victorian building used by the Department of Drama and Theatre as experimental theatre space.

The art collection was amassed in the late 1800s by Victorian visionary, Thomas Holloway, who founded the College. Between 1881 and 1883, the self-made multi-millionaire whose fortune had been made in patent medicines, paid well over £80,000 (equivalent to more than £6 million in today's terms) for the seventy-seven paintings which make up the Royal Holloway Collection.

Holloway collected scenes of contemporary Victorian life and was fortunate enough to collect several that are now considered the most important ever produced, including The Railway Station (1862) by William Frith and Princes in the Tower (1878) by Sir John Everett Millais. Luke Fildes' Applicants for Admission to a Casual Ward (1874) remains the most savage indictment of poverty and homelessness produced by any Victorian artist; and Frank Holl's Newgate: Committed for Trial (1878) demonstrates the tenuous hold of the poor on respectability and the means of survival, both instantly under threat when the breadwinner takes to crime.

The Royal Holloway Collection was widely acclaimed from the start and has since attracted visitors from around the world to its on-campus gallery. Members of the public will be able to visit the collection during this year’s Heritage Open Days event on Sunday 11 September.

For more information about the Heritage Open Days click here, contact the Events office by email or call 01784 414471.


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