Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

The Pons Collection

Cousin Pons, the eponymous "poor relation" of Balzac's novel, is a haunter of bric a brac shops who has managed to build up an art collection which includes first rate paintings by Sebastiano del Piombo, Durer and Hobbema- not to mention less-regarded works by Van Eyck, Breughel, Gericault and Chardin.  Since Balzac is some sort of a realist I suppose this had to have been possible in the Paris of the 1840s- perhaps (I'm guessing here) because the breaking up of the chateaux at the  time of the French Revolution and all the looting that went on during the Napoleonic wars had released a flood of old masters onto a market that scarcely knew how to value them. The arrangement of Pons' gallery, with its portrait busts in the corners of the room and its glass cases in a line down the middle-  reminds me of the Wallace Collection- a real-life treasure house assembled in the same place and time. The difference is that Sir Richard Wallace was nobody's poor relation.  These days not even a very rich man could hope to replicate the Pons collection- not only because the price of old master paintings has soared, but because the best ones have long since been gobbled up by the Louvre and the National Gallery and the Getty and first rate del Piombos, Durers and Hobbemas simply don't appear on the market any more.


  • On Mature Reflection

    I dreamed I'd co-authored a book about how I came to leave the Church. I was leafing through the finished article and finding it very glum. My…

  • Earworms And Rain

    Binge-listening to variant versions of Matty Groves/Little Musgrave means I now have it as an ear worm. It could be worse; it could be the Birdy…

  • Matty Groves

    I'm sure there's a version where the husband cuts his wife's head off and kicks it against the wall but I can't find it. Did I make…

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.