Polesden Lacey was originally a Caroline house, lived in by the dramatist and politician Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751–1816). It was left to the National Trust in 1942 by Dame Margaret Greville (1863–1942) with the stipulation that an art gallery be created there in memory of her father, William McEwan (1827–1913), MP. The villa, in its present form with its richly gilt saloon, was designed by Thomas Cubitt in 1823 and was the first bequest accepted by the Trust on the merits of the collections rather than of the house and grounds. Most of the better seventeenth-century Dutch and Flemish genre and landscape pictures, which form one major part of the collection along with the nineteenth-century Hague School works, were bought by William McEwan through Lesser Adrian Lesser. McEwan's daughter, Dame Margaret, was influenced by the taste of the art dealer Joseph Duveen (1869–1939) in her acquisitions of British portraits and also embraced early Flemish, Italian and German panel painting, which originally hung in her London house in Charles Street, Mayfair.
National Trust, Polesden Lacey
Great Bookham, near Dorking, Surrey RH5 6BD England
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