chapter  1
Introduction 'Crossing the Big Pond': the Anglo-American appeal of Pre-Raphaelitism
WithMargaretta Frederick Watson
Pages 14

The female touch seems to have been similarly missing in the formation of Birmingham's collection, as there were no leading female collectors or wives active in this endeavour. Birmingham's earliest acquisition of a 'true' Pre-Raphaelite painting for its public collection was in 1883, thirty-four years after a painting of this school had first been exhibited in the city. Even taking into account the pressing social needs that quite necessarily took precedence over the use of public funds for the formation of an art collection, this delay is somewhat unusual. While Birmingham's holdings were assembled collectively by the Corporation of the City, the Delaware Art Museum's Pre-Raphaelite collection, although formed at roughly the same time, was the result of the singular vision of one individual - Samuel Bancroft. Samuel Bancroft, whose English business connections and family heritage were perhaps the basis for a clearly anglophile cultural bias, viewed his first Pre-Raphaelite painting in 1880 with a 'shock of delight'.