Beer vs Art; which would you choose?

Picture this: it’s 1876 and you’re a dapper young heir to the Guinness name, fortune, and business – beer! You recently turned 29 years old, just bought your brothers’ shares of the company because you’ve got big plans for it, and you’ve got your whole life ahead of you. When it comes to culture and art, you’ve ensured that you are just as important as the Rothschilds, J.P. Morgan, and Henry Clay Frick. However, rather than collect a harem of courtesans and countesses, you’ve chosen to collect paintings of such ladies from the Belle Époque.

 

Sir Anthony van Dyck, Princess Henrietta of Lorraine Attended by a Page, 1634.
Oil on canvas, 213.4 x 127 cm.
Kenwood House, The Iveagh Bequest, London.

 

Is it because you’re an Irishman in England and long to feel closer to your neighbours? Is it honestly because you love your third cousin more than anyone else out there? (Did I mention that you married her three years ago and she mothers your three sons?)

 

Thomas Gainsborough, Lady Brisco, c. 1776.
Oil on canvas, 235.2 x 148.5 cm.
Kenwood House, The Iveagh Bequest, London.

 

I think that many a woman would have doted on you, especially after considering your immense fortune (though, we’re not all gold diggers), your heartfelt donations to urban renewal and medical research, and your keen eye for art and skill in Gainsborough, Rembrandt, and Van Dyck (amongst many others). The Guinness brand isn’t especially my cup of tea (or beer, har har), but any man that takes value in art and its history could definitely have a shot at courting me, or any other self-respecting, well-cultured woman.

For the first time ever, Edward Guinness, 1st Earl of Iveagh’s Kenwood House collection has crossed the pond! See Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Gainsborough: The Treasures of Kenwood House, London now through 13 January 2013 in the Milwaukee Art Museum. Find yourself infatuated with his collection? Check out Anthony van Dyck by Victoria Charles and Harmensz van Rijn Rembrandt by Émile Michel today!

 

-Le Lorrain Andrews