Theodore Mander, a Wolverhampton paint manufacturer, and his Canadian wife Flora, commissioned Edward Ould to build Wightwick Manor in black and white ‘Old English’ style in 1887 (extended in 1893). They decorated it with Morris & Co. furnishings, Kempe stained glass and De Morgan tiles, but had more conventional late Victorian tastes in painting, buying chiefly English and Continental views. An exception was the small, early Florentine School ‘Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saint Catherine’ in the style of Raffaellino del Garbo (c.1466–1524). The property was given to the National Trust by Sir Geoffrey Le Mesurier Mander (1882–1962), MP, at the instigation of his second wife, Rosalie Glynn Grylls (1905–1988), Lady Mander, in 1937. Therefore, it was the Trust’s first endowed and furnished house. Lady Mander championed the Pre-Raphaelite artists and their associates and the collection is now particularly strong in the portrait drawings of Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Sir Edward Burne-Jones from other loans and gifts. Notwithstanding Burne-Jones’s 'Love Among the Ruins', 1894, acquired by the 1st Viscount Bearsted, and on loan from that collection, George Frederick Watts’ portrait of ‘Jane 'Jeanie' Elizabeth Hughes (1828–1877) , Mrs Nassau John Senior’ is probably the most striking large painting. Other notable works include intimate portraits, one begun by Dante Gabriel Rossetti of William Morris’s wife and his mistress, ‘Jane Burden (1839–1914), Mrs William Morris’, and completed after his death by Ford Madox Brown, and his portrait of 'William Michael Rossetti (1829–1919) by Lamplight', as well as Millais’ small study in oil of ‘Effie with Foxgloves in Her Hair (The Foxgloves) (Euphemia 'Effie' Chalmers Gray, 1828–1898, Mrs John Ruskin)’.
National Trust, Wightwick Manor
Wolverhampton, West Midlands WV6 8EE England
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