Kenneth Thomson the Collector, The Thomson Collection
Published: March 6, 2009
Donated by AGO
Ken Thomson was no mere trophy gatherer. A man of passionate commitment and of wide-ranging cultural curiosity, the late Lord Thomson of Fleet (1923-2006) began a half-century of collecting in 1953 during a visit to Bournemouth, England, and continued to the very end of his life. The Thomson Collection has drawn the respect of museum curators worldwide. Both in terms of quantity and quality, the collection's body of Canadian art has no equal; and a number of works, principal among them Massacre of the Innocents, the masterpiece of Rubens's early maturity, are of truly international significance.
This book surveys the collection as a whole, exploring the particular character of Ken Thomson's taste, describing and evaluating individual pieces, and setting them in their historical context. The collection features major paintings by Canadian artists from the 19th to the mid 20th century including some iconic works of the Group of Seven and Tom Thomson. Among its European works is the fabulous 12th-century Malmesbury reliquary casket, an extraordinary selection of medieval ivories, and a fine group of portrait miniatures. A large and varied group of ship models, from the Napoleonic era to the 20th century, is an intriguing facet of the collection.
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