Pre-Felton works bought on Eastlake’s advice
Bedford (J.) La Belle Yseult 1863 {1864} NGV [PA]
Cope The Pilgrim Fathers 1856 {1864} NGV [PA]
Folingsby (G.) Bunyan in Prison 1864 {1864} NGV [PA]
Herdman The Fern Gatherer 1864 {1864} NGV [PA]
Herring Horses and Pigs {1864} NGV [PA]
Koller Parting from Betrothed 1864 {1864} NGV [PA]
Mogford Watergate Bay 1864 {1864} NGV [PA]
Schendel The Poultry Vendor 1863 {1864} NGV [PA]
Tschaggeny Sheep in repose 1864 {1864} NGV [PA]
Vibert French Artists in a Spanish Posada 1862 {1864} NGV [PA]
Williams The Italian Family 1834 {1864} NGV [PA]

One of many talented and energetic Victorian art-world figures, Eastlake is particularly notable for his role in the early development of the London National Gallery’s collection, especially in the area of Italian Renaissance and early Netherlandish painting, then still relatively adventurous fields for British acquisition. In 1849, he married Elizabeth Rigby, a talented art historian, and the two collaborated extensively thereafter.

In 1864, shortly before the end of his life, Eastlake (by now also President of the Royal Academy) accepted an invitation by Redmond Barry to head the Commission of Fine Arts selected to advise on the first purchases of paintings for the Melbourne collection. Mindful of financial constraints and the taste of the new colony, he responded relatively conservatively, choosing works by 19th-century British and European academic and realist artists, as listed above.

Eastlake was also a posthumous influence on Melbourne’s first acquisitions of glassware in the 1870s and 80s, mostly Venetian glass made in Murano. As Geoffrey Edwards has pointed out, Eastlake specifically recommended the products of the recently revived Venetian glass industry over contemporary English and Northern European work, in his influential handbook Hints on Household Taste: for further details, see Venice and Murano Glass and Mosaic Company.


For Eastlake’s role in the early history of the NGV, see e.g. Cox NGV (1970), pp.12ff., and Galbally First Collections {check}. 

For modern accounts of the Eastlakes’ contribution to British art in the period, see David Robertson, Sir Charles Eastlake and the Victorian art world, Princeton UP, 1978; and Susanne Avery-Quash & Julie Sheldon, Art for the nation: the Eastlakes and the Victorian art world, London: National Gallery, 2011. For glass, see Edwards, Art of Glass (1998), p.150