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The Bute Collection is one of the foremost private collections of artwork and artefacts in the UK, and is especially notable for its British portraiture from the 18th and 19th centuries, Italian masterpieces from the 16th century, and Dutch and Flemish Old Masters.
The collection also houses a varied compilation of archives, books, furniture, silverwork and porcelain, reflecting the interests of various generations of the Bute family. The 3rd Earl of Bute was a notable patron of Jean-Etienne Liotard, Alllan Ramsey, Johann Zoffany and Sir Joshua Reynolds, and as a connoisseur he influenced the collections of James Lowther, 1st Earl of Lowther, as well as George III. In fact, he was believed to have been instrumental in aiding the expansion of the Royal Collection.
His own collection was also remarkable for its range and calibre of Dutch paintings, including works by almost every major 17th century master including Aelbert Cuyp, Pieter de Hooch, Jacob van Ruisdael and Aert van der Neer. The 3rd Earl also had a fine collection of Italian works, now hanging in the Drawing Room at Mount Stuart. Remarkably, one of the finest Dutch paintings in the collection was only added in 1934, when the 4th Marquess of Bute purchased Pieter Saenredam's masterpiece: The Interior of St. Bavo's Church, now held in the National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh.
Find out more
For a fuller account of the Bute Collection, see John, 3rd Earl of Bute: Patron & Collector by Francis Russell (ISBN: 0951259512), available in the Visitor Centre at Mount Stuart.