The Magnasco Society

I assumed that Gerald Wellesley, who was responsible for the interiors of the Italian Embassy, must have been a member of the Magnasco Society which was founded by the Sitwells in 1924, the year of the publication of Sacheverell Sitwell’s Southern Baroque Art, to promote their love of Italian painting.   Indeed, he was.   He was its first President, taking the chair at their first annual dinner, held in a private room at the Savoy Hotel, when Walter Sickert was the speaker;  and he arranged the loan of paintings from the collection of his brother, the Duke of Wellington, as well as lending paintings himself, for their first exhibition, held at Agnews in November 1924.   It was organised ‘for the purpose of furthering the study and appreciation of what, for the lack of a more precise term, we may call Baroque Painting’.   There were annual exhibitions thereafter, ending with a Canaletto exhibition at Spink in June 1929.


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