Herbert Cook

I have just refreshed my memory about Sir Herbert Cook who owned Leonardo’s Salvator Mundi unawares for most of the twentieth century.   It was his grandfather Francis, a wealthy textile merchant, who must have bought it in 1900 from the connoisseur John Charles Robinson and then bequeathed it to his son Frederick who in turn left it to his son Herbert on his death in 1920.   Herbert had helped establish the Burlington Magazine and was one of the founders of the Natiinal Art-Collections Fund, so his collection would have been well known to art connoisseurs of the time.   But although he was a Trustee of the National Gallery during the 1920s, his collection, left to his two sons, was dispersed after his death.

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