Charles Drury Edward Fortnum was writer, collector, museum donor and Trustee of the British Museum. He married twice, both times to cousins with inherited fortunes from Fortnum and Mason in Piccadilly, London.
Fortnum's early interests lay in mineralogy and entomology, and from 1840 to 1845 he apparently made his fortune in mining copper in southern Australia. He formed his collection in the 1850s and 1860s, collecting bronzes, maiolica, finger-rings, paintings, sculpture, glassware and porcelain from Egypt, Italy, Greece, East Asia and Germany. These were kept at his home, Hill House, Stanmore.
Fortnum produced a number of volumes on ceramics and bronzes in the South Kensington Museum and on the maiolica in the Ashmolean Museum, as well as publishing articles in Archaeologia and the Archaeological Journal. He was elected Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1858 and was appointed Vice-President in 1886. He became a Trustee of the British Museum in 1889. Items from his collection were bequeathed to the British Museum and Oxford University.
Fortnum, C. D. E., A Descriptive Catalogue of the Maiolica and Enamelled Earthenware of Italy: The Hispano Moresco, Persian, Damascus and Rhodian Wares in the South Kensington Museum, London, 1872; Fortnum, C. D. E., A Descriptive Catalogue of the Bronzes of European Origin in the South Kensington Museum, London, 1876; Fortnum, C. D. E., A Descriptive and Illustrated Catalogue of his Collection of Works of Antique, Renaissance and Modern Art, London, 1889; Fortnum, C. D. E., A Descriptive Catalogue of the Maiolica and Enamelled Earthenware of Italy in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford Oxford, 1897.
Lloyd, Christopher, 'C. D. E. Fortnum', The Grove Dictionary of Art Online, ed. L. Macy, accessed 16 April 2003, http://www.groveart.com.