Why Can’t More Collectors Be Like This?

One of the greatest collections of Italian Baroque paintings in the world has been gifted to museums and galleries across Britain – but the works will be withdrawn if the institutions ever charge the public to see them. The private collection of Sir Denis Mahon, the philanthropist and passionate campaigner for free entry to public museums, has been given as a permanent bequest to British galleries. Sir Denis, an heir to the Guinness Mahon banking fortune, began collecting Italian baroque paintings in the 1930s, including the Guercino pictured at left, purchasing the then unfashionable works for two or three hundred dollars apiece.

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