Victorian London : Mapping the Emergence of the Modern Art Gallery

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Dowdeswell's Gallery

Charles William Dowdeswell operated a frame making and print shop at 36 Chancery Lane, and opened his gallery at 133 New Bond Street by 1880.  The firm moved to 160 New Bond Street in 1887, and exhibitions were held in that space until at least 1918 (see National Art Library catalogues.) The gallery exhibited a wide range of work, including paintings and drawings by Sutton Palmer, Birket Foster, Whistler, Alfred East, and Byam Shaw; and published prints by Charles Méyron, Seymour Haden and Whistler. In London of today: An illustrated handbook for the season, Charles Eyre Pascoe advised visitors that “for the most part Messrs. Dowdeswell and Dowdeswells … make a speciality of showing the work … of young and rising artists of the English school. Their rooms [133 New Bond Street] are among the pleasantest in Bond Street, and one may be sure of finding there at all seasons some pictures, by well-known modern painters, worthy of notice.” (299)

In the summer of 1887, the firm moved into new premises at 160 New Bond Street, previously the home of Salon Parisien. A notice in the British Architect described the new gallery: “The dark drop, the blood, the comedy, the scent, and the gurgling fountain of Le Salon Parisien are gone, and one of the most beautiful amongst London picture galleries has taken their place. Messrs. Dowdeswell have now moved up to 160, New Bond Street, and in place of the numerous peers and surprises of Le Salon Parisien have provided a fine gallery about 100 feet long, which consists of three compartments, divided off by draped portiéries, and excellently upholstered with drapery, varied between dark blue, green, and sage green and brown.” (“Notes on Current Events,” British Architect, 15 July 1887, 39.)

Dowdeswell's Gallery Address: 133 New Bond St

Start Date: 1880

End Date: 1886

Other Locations:
36 Chancery Lane (by 1879-at least 1879)
160 New Bond St (1887-at least 1918)

Charles William Dowdeswell (1832-1915)

Charles Dowdewell

Walter Dowdeswell (1858-1929)

Selected exhibitions

Selection of Drawings by David Law, October 1880. (1880) [NAL]

Sketches and drawings by Sutton Palmer…illustrating some of the beauties of Yorkshire scenery (1881) [NAL]

Sketches and drawings by Sutton Palmer…illustrating some of the beauties of Surrey scenery (1882) [NAL]

Drawing by Mr. Birket Foster of the cathedral cities of England and Wales, and of picturesque nature by land and sea by Mr. John Mogford (1883) [NAL]

Drawings, paintings, and pastels by members of “La Société des Impressionistes” (1883) [NAL]

Alpine Drawings, by J. M. Donne (January 1884) [TYA 1885, 61]

Cathedral Churches, by Wyke Bayliss (February and March 1884) [TYA 1885, 61]

Notes, Harmonies, and Nocturnes, by J. MacNeill Whistler, “during Season” (1884) [TYA 1885, 61]

East Coast of England Drawings, by C. Robertson. (1884) [TYA 1885, 61]

Her First Dance, by W.Q. Orchardson, R.A.; A Waif and The Stowaway by J.E. Millais, R.A. (May 1885) [TYA 1886, 63]

Old Masters (December 1885 and January 1886) [TYA 1887, 76]

The Border Land, Landscapes by James Orrock, R.I. (February and March 1886) [TYA 1887, 76]

Arrangement in Brown and Gold, drawings and pastels by J. McN. Whistler (April and May 1886) [TYA 1887, 76]

The Start and Finish of the Season, by W. Wilson R.I. and F. Walton, R.I. (June and July 1886) [TYA 1887, 76]

 “Dots – Notes – Spots,” by A. Ludovici, jun., R.B.A. (February 1888) [TYA 1889, 101]

 “Pastels,” by James Guthrie (January 1891) [TYA 1892, 98]

The Thirteenth Annual Exhibition of the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolours (March 1891) [TYA 1892, 99]

“India,” by Mortimer Menpes (April and May 1891) [TYA 1892, 99]

“The Return from Calvary” and “Pictures of the Holy Land,” by Herbert Schmalz,
            (November and December 1891) [TYA 1892, 99]

Landscapes by Jan Van Beers (May 1904) [TYA 1905, 129]

 “Along the Italian Riviera,” by Henry S. Tuke, A.R.A. (July 1904) [TYA 1905, 129]

The Neglected Invitation and Other Pictures by Byam Shaw (April 1906) [TYA 1907, 137]

“The English Lakes,” Water Colours by R. Gwelo Goodman (February 1909) [TYA 1910, 137]

“Old World Gardens,” Water Colours by E. Arthur Rowe (March 1909) [TYA 1910, 137]

A Loan Exhibition of the Pictures of Jan Steen, in aid of the National Hospital for the Paralysed and Epileptic, opened by H.R.H. The Duchess of Albany, May 13th 1909. [TYA 1910, 137]

The Poems of Robert Browning, Water Colours by Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale, A.R.W.S. (June and July 1909) [TYA 1910, 137]

For more exhibitions, see: “Exhibitions associated with: Dowdeswell and Dowdeswell”
Exhibition Culture in London 1878-1908, University of Glasgow


The Correspondence of James McNeill Whistler, University of Glasgow Accessed 30 July 2012.

Fletcher, Pamela and Anne Helmreich. “Selected galleries, dealers and exhibition spaces in London, 1850-1939.” In The Rise of the Modern Art Market in London, 1850-1939. Eds. Pamela Fletcher and Anne Helmreich. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2011. 300.

Pascoe, Charles Eyre. London of today: An illustrated handbook for the season. Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1885.

Unless otherwise noted, the documentation of a gallery’s start and end dates at a location is drawn from listings in The Year’s Art.

How to cite:
Pamela Fletcher and David Israel, London Gallery Project, 2007; Revised September 2012.

Bowdoin College