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date: 13 October 2019

Tho(ma)s Agnew & Sons Ltdlocked

  • Oliver Garnett


English firm of art dealers and print publishers. Thomas Agnew (b Liverpool, 16 Dec 1794; d Fair Hope, Eccles, Greater Manchester, 24 March 1871) became a partner in the Manchester firm of Vittore Zanetti, framemaker, dealer in works of art and scientific instruments, and print publisher, in 1817. He took sole control of the business in 1835, opening a branch in London in 1860. His greatest achievement was to develop the market for contemporary English pictures among the newly wealthy class of northern businessman. He specialized in genre and modern-life subjects by such artists as William Mulready, William Collins, William Powell Frith, Edwin Landseer and John Phillip, which he sold for high prices. He was motivated by the utilitarian principles of Swedenborgianism, which encouraged him to help found the Salford Museum in 1850 and bequeath pictures to it. He retired in 1861 in favour of his sons, Sir ...

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