british collection

The English Collection consists largely of portraits. Painted in the Mannerist style and dated 1553, the oldest is a rare oil on wood by an anonymous artist, portraying Lady Jane Grey at the age of sixteen, who ruled England for only nine days.

Most of the other paintings come from the XVIII century, when portraiture reached its peak in England, reflecting the elegance and sophistication of those days. One of the most important canvases is by Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792), who was a master of formal composition and the first President of the Royal Academy. The final version of this delicate study for the Portrait of Lady Caroline displayed at the National Gallery in Washington. Also very important is the lovely Portrait of Mrs. Williams posing with St. Cecilia, by Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830), a Court painter whose portraits prompted much admiration in the higher circles of British society.

Other outstanding works are two assigned to Thomas Gainsborough: Portrait of a Man and Autumn Landscape with Cows and Human Figures; Portrait of Mr. Hylar by Lemuel Francis Abbot (1760-1803); Portrait of Mr. Critchley by George Romney (1734-1802); Portrait of a Young Lady by John Hoppner (1758-1810); a Baigneuse is attributed to Joshua Reynolds, who also signs the small drawing entitled the Portrait of a Young Person with a Hat.

The English Collection owned by the Eva Klabin Foundation includes a rare and widely-varied set of silverware dating back to the XVII, XVIII and XIX centuries, bearing the hallmarks of the leading silversmiths of each period. It includes salvers, tankards, powder compacts, candelabra and candlesticks, soup tureens and vegetable dishes, as well as tea-boxes and trays. Some items are displayed on the furniture, while others are kept in a large dresser in the dining room.

Two important items of furniture are particularly noteworthy: the XVII century expanding table that dates back to the days of Charles II, and the Chippendale-style desk dating back to the XVIII century, decorated with oriental motifs known as chinoiserie that were very much in fashion at that time in Europe. Brought to Brazil by Portuguese artists and craftsman, this style of decoration can still be seen today in some XVIII century churches.