The Library of Nineteenth-Century Photography

Richard Glynn Vivian

Richard Glynn Vivian

Richard Glynn Vivian (1835-1910) was the 4th son of the copper magnate John Henry Vivian. A traveller and an art collector, he endowed the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery in Swansea. The following is taken from their website:

'The Art Gallery is named after its founder and principal benefactor, Richard Glynn Vivian (1835–1910), the fourth son of John Henry Vivian; owner of the largest copper works in Swansea. Unlike his father and older brothers, who had a scientific education, Glynn Vivian went to Cambridge and gained an arts degree. On his father’s death in 1855, Glynn Vivian inherited a quarter share in Vivian & Sons, but chose not to be involved in running the firm. Instead he pursued his principal interests of foreign travel and the arts. Receiving an income from the family business allowed Glynn Vivian to indulge his love of art collecting. He became a serious collector of paintings and china. He recorded his purchases in his diary, meticulously noting price and provenance, and often including a tiny but detailed sketch. In 1898, aged 63, Glynn Vivian returned to Swansea and bought Sketty Hall, on which he lavished money and affection. By 1902 his sight began to fail, he became almost totally blind. This affliction had a profound effect on him and his later years were devoted to charity. In 1905 Glynn Vivian offered to leave his art collection to Swansea and build a gallery to house it. His offer was not immediately accepted, as there were concerns about the maintenance costs, which the town would have to meet. He renewed his offer in 1908; after a poll of ratepayers, it was accepted. He laid the foundation stone on 14th May 1909 and building work began. The gallery was opened in July 1911, but sadly Glynn Vivian did not live to take part in the ceremony, which was performed by his brother, Graham.'

Photographed by Schier and Schoefft of Alexandria.

From an album compiled by Elizabeth Van de Weyer, the American wife of the Belgian ambassador to the Court of St James.


Code: 122990
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