Warsaw borrows Stanislas’s paintings from Dulwich

“Collection for a King” opens on 5 May

Dulwich picture gallery is mounting an exhibition at the Royal Castle, Warsaw (5 May-2 August 1992) entitled “Collection for a King”. Thirty paintings from the Dulwich collection will be lent to the Castle, whose Keeper Andrej Rottermund (Poland’s Deputy Minister of Culture), has worked closely with Dulwich’s Director Giles Waterfield, on the project. The thirty paintings form part of Dulwich’s core collection assembled in the 1790s by Noel Desenfans on behalf of Stanislas Augustus, King of Poland. Stanislas abdicated in 1795 and the 180-or-so pictures assembled by Desenfans never reached their destination. The British government turned down the option to purchase them but they were saved after Desenfan’s death by his ward, Sir Francis Bourgeois, who followed Desenfans instructions and donated the paintings to the Dulwich college collection. Over one hundred of the Desenfans works have been securely identified and the research on the bequest is presented in the exhibition’s accompanying catalogue. Dulwich has helped to fund the exhibition with its “Adopt a Painting” scheme; Allied Lyons and Amhurst Brown Colombotti are among the companies to fund the transportation and other costs of sending a work to Warsaw. A return loan from Warsaw will form the subject of an exhibition at Dulwich entitled “Stanislas Augustus: Patron and Collector”. This will include paintings by Bellotto, Rembrandt and Steen, drawings by Rembrandt, Fragonard and Boucher, and Polish silver and ceramics. An outstanding loan is David’s “Count Stanislaw Potocki” (1781) from the Willanow Museum, Warsaw (13 May-26 July)