Victorian London : Mapping the Emergence of the Modern Art Gallery

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French Gallery

The French Gallery was founded by the picture dealer and print publisher Ernest Gambart by 1854.  The gallery held annual spring exhibitions of French painting from 1854 until at least 1896, and annual winter exhibitions of British art. During Gambart’s tenure, the gallery exhibited work by many of the most prominent artists of the period, including John Everett Millais, William Holman Hunt, Ford Madox Brown, Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon, and Rosa Bonheur. In 1867, Gambart sold the lease of the gallery to the dealer Henry Wallis (who had been managing the space since 1861). The French Gallery continued to mount regular exhibitions into the early twentieth century.

Address: 120 Pall Mall

Start Date: by 1854

End Date: 1929

Other Locations:
158 New Bond Street (1930-1931)
11 Berkeley Square (c. 1932-at least 1937)
35 Old Bond Street (by 1939-at least 1939)

buildings: image x of x thumbnail   buildings: image x of x thumbnail


Ernest GambartErnest Gambart (wikipedia entry) 

Henry Wallis

Selected exhibitions

First Annual Exhibition of the French School of Fine Arts in London (1854) [NAL]

Winter Exhibition of pictures, water colours and engravings of the English school (1855) [NAL]

Exhibition catalogues: National Art Library, London


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. 303.

Fletcher, Pamela M. “Creating the French Gallery: Ernest Gambart and the Rise of the Commercial Art Gallery in Mid-Victorian London.” Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide 6/1 (Spring 2007).

Maas, Jeremy. Gambart: Prince of the Victorian Art World. London: Barrie & Jenkins, 1975.

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

Bowdoin College