The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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George Salting, 1835-1909

Nationality: Australian
Date of Birth: 1835.08.15
Place of Birth: Sydney, NSW
Date of Death: 1909.12.12
Place of Death: St James, Thatched House Club, London


George Salting was a collector of prints and porcelain. He was the younger son of Danish immigrants to New South Wales. His father was a wealthy marine merchant in Sydney, whose firm invested in sheep stations and sugar plantations, establishing their family fortune.


Salting was educated at Sydney University from 1854 to 1857, and for one term at Balliol College in Oxford. In the late 1850s he visited Italy with his father, visiting museums and galleries in Rome, Florence and Naples, and photographing sites of archaeological interest. After his father's death in 1865, being left with a fortune of £30,000 a year, Salting began acquiring classical artefacts, early furniture, jewellery, bronzes, plaquettes, medals, enamels, ceramics, ivories, glass, textiles, leatherwork, portrait miniatures and illuminated manuscripts. Like JW, he was drawn to oriental art, and, influenced by JW's patron Louis Huth, he acquired a renowned collection of Chinese ceramics largely from the Qing Dynasty, as well as prints, drawings and oil paintings. Later he began to collect the works of Corot and the Barbizon school.

Salting was a member of the Burlington Fine Arts Club in 1867 at the time of JW's expulsion, due to his quarrel with his brother-in-law Francis Seymour Haden (#12968). However, Salting did not vote in JW's favour (#12959). He was friends with the collector, museum donor and Trustee of the British Museum Charles Drury Edward Fortnum and the museum curator and writer Augustus Wollaston Franks. From 1874 much of his collection went on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and after his death the museum received all the decorative art objects in his collection. Some of his paintings and drawings went to the British Museum and National Gallery in London.


Victoria and Albert Museum: The Salting Bequest, London, 1911; Lugt, Frits, Les marques de collections de dessins et d'estampes: marques estampillèes et écrites de collections particulières et publiques; marques de marchands, de monteurs et d'imprimeurs; etc..., Amsterdam, 1921, nos. 1212, 2260, 2261; Preston, Harley, 'George Salting', The Grove Dictionary of Art Online, ed. L. Macy, (accessed 16 April 2003).