Tipped-in frontis. in color & collotype plates for each item (one in color; some with multiple plates). Two vols. xiii,  pp.; xix,  pp.,  pp. of "Supplementary Notes to Volume I." Large 4to, orig. half-vellum & green cloth, upper covers gilt, green morocco lettering pieces on spines. Oxford: [Printed at the University Press by Frederick Hall, 1923 & 1926]. Presentation copies of these privately printed and handsomely produced catalogues; with numerous fine illustrations. Lee (1868-1947), soldier, diplomat, and politician, helped found the Courtauld Institute and also served as a trustee and chairman of the National Gallery. "In 1917 the Chequers Estate Act was passed by which Lee and his wife presented to a trust, for the use of successive prime ministers for ever, the mansion and estate of over 1000 acres in Buckinghamshire which they had acquired in 1909 and entirely restored and equipped with appropriate furniture, works of art, and historical relics. In January 1921 the trust was brought into operation and Lord and Lady Lee finally left the house with its entire contents. They provided an endowment of £100,000 for its upkeep… "Lee had acquired a remarkable knowledge of painting and the fine arts generally before and during his years of furnishing Chequers, and he now began a second collection with zest and a rare flair for finding and acquiring masterpieces of all schools and dates, in which he revealed his real love and understanding of craftsmanship. He was active in the art sales of the 1920s, fuelled by the need of many gentry families to sell off their art collections during the post-war depression, and made many astute purchases. He bequeathed the whole to the Courtauld Institute of Art, the original conception of which was due to his imagination and energy…In 1929 Lee gained financial backing from the industrialist and art patron, Samuel Courtauld, and from the art dealer, Joseph Duveen. Further negotiations with the University of London led to the announcement, in October 1930, of the creation of the Courtauld Institute of Art, under the management of a committee chaired by Lee. At Lee's suggestion William Constable was made the director of the institute, which opened in October 1932 offering degrees in the history of art, the first such degree course in Britain."-ODNB. The majority of this second collection, described here, was bequeathed to the Courtauld Institute upon his death. The first volume describes 58 pictures and 9 pieces of sculpture and tapestry (numbered 59-67), and the second inventories numbers 68 to 110, the majority of which are paintings, with some silver and sculpture. Each item is illustrated and thoroughly described with biographical notes and provenance information. Borenius (1885-1948), the catalogue's compiler, was a Finnish art historian and considered a leading scholar on Italian art of the Renaissance. Fine presentation copies, both inscribed by the Viscount: "Peter Lauriston Melville Lee from his great-uncle…" A few notes on provenance in pencil by the previous owner. (Inventory #: 6066)
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