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The Harold Samuel Collection

The Harold Samuel Collection


The Harold Samuel Collection is a unique collection of 17th-century paintings from Holland's Golden Age. Bequeathed to the City of London in 1987 by Sir Harold Samuel of Wych Cross (1912–1987), a wealthy property developer and philanthropist, this remarkable collection of 84 works – the finest collection of Dutch and Flemish art assembled privately in the UK in the last hundred years – enriches the splendour of the interior of the Mansion House, residence of the Lord Mayor of London. This book marks the 25th anniversary of the bequest. Proceeds from the sale of the book will go towards the Lord Mayor's Appeal which primarily supports the City Music Foundation, and the Harold Samuel Collection Fund, recently set up for the conservation and maintenance of the paintings.


This publication, introduced by an essay of the Collection and the history of artistic taste in relation to Dutch art, has lively and insightful entries accompanying beautiful reproductions of each painting. The Merry Lute Player by Frans Hals (1582/3–1666) is perhaps the best known picture in the Collection, the first painting to be bought via a transatlantic telephone bid, but Samuel also gathered outstanding examples of genre painting, indeed several of the finest workds in existence by Nicolaes Maes, Jacob Ochtervelt, Adriaen van Ostade and Jan Steen.

  • Michael Hall

    Michael Hall, with an introduction by Clare Gifford


    December 2012

    200 pages, paperback

    212 x 168 mm, 90 colour illustrations
    ISBN: 978 1 907372 41 4

  • About the authors

    Michael Hall gained his PhD, on collecting Old Master paintings in the nineteenth century, from the Courtauld Institute of Art in 2005. For the past twenty-five years he has been curator of the Rothschild family collections at Exbury in Hampshire. He has been a Visiting Scholar at the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, and was J. Clawson Mills Fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. He has catalogued the collection of gold boxes at the Huntington Art Gallery in San Marino, California, and writes on French decorative arts and on collecting Old Master patintings.


    Clare Gifford, PhD and fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and of Pathologists, worked (under her maiden name Taylor) as a haematology consultant and as a medical director of the UK haemoviligance system. In recent years she has become greatly interested in the history and culture of  'the City that made the world'. Her husband Roger was elected Lord Mayor of London for 2012–13.

  • In the press

    "For those lucky enough to be able to visit the Mansion House, whether as a guest of the lord mayor of London or on an occasional tour, Michael Hall’s Guide will be a stimulating and informative companion." –HNA Review of Books


    "A thorough coverage perfect for any arts history holding." –Midwest Book Review 

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