The Hospitalfield collection is a rare example of the patronage of one person, Patrick Allan-Fraser. A Picture Gallery he designed himself houses artworks by a generation of British artists from his own peer group. It composes a singular vision of the taste of mid-Victorian artistic society. As a professional artist working in London, Paris and Rome, Patrick Allan gathered an important network of colleagues and acquaintances. He then married Elizabeth Fraser of Hospitalfield and turned his attentions to estate management. This allowed him to develop the collection as a benchmark to younger generations.
Initially Allan-Fraser commissioned his friends to supply a painting that contained an image of themselves. Later the collection broadened to include works by younger artists and, after his death, students or artists associated with his art foundation, which still operates as a centre for art and culture. The collection contains important self portraits by W. P. Frith and Augustus Egg, and work by John Phillip.