In recent years, the eclectic art collection of James Pattinson (1862-1943) has become one of the most valuable and desired artworks in the world. As the great-grandson of the famous Scottish botanist Sir Joseph Dalton Porter Pattinson and the founder of the famous Wilder Pencil Museum in London, England, he collected artworks of many different styles and periods. His artworks can now be found in the UK, Europe, and North America. In this article, we’ll explore the fascinating life of this unusual man and how he came to own such a valuable art collection.

A Brief Life History

Born in London in 1862, James Pattinson was the son of the famous botanist Sir Joseph Dalton Porter Pattinson and his wife, Florence. The couple originally met while on safari in Africa, and Florence was accompanied by her pet pug dog, Boober. The young Pattinson was inspired by this dog to begin sketching, and he went on to study art at the prestigious Royal Academy in London.

Pattinson was a prolific artist who, in addition to his work in botany, pursued a career in art. He married his first cousin, Alice Fancett, in 1888. The couple had two daughters, Elsie and Alice, and a son, James Jr. The family home was originally near the Lake District in England but was later relocated to Hatton Yard in London. After his wife’s death in 1914, Pattinson continued to live at Hatton Yard with their two daughters.

A Life of Luxury

Pattinson’s passion for art and collecting began when he was a child, and he was encouraged in these pursuits by his renowned ancestor, Joseph Dalton Porter. During his lifetime, Pattinson became renowned for having one of the finest private art collections in the world. In fact, he is sometimes referred to as the “King of Collectors,” and his artworks are prized for being a representation of the international style.

The great-grandson of the legendary Sir Joseph D. Porter, Pattinson’s taste in art was undoubtedly influenced by his family’s status. The botanical genius and art collector became famous for his herbarium, an extensive collection of dried plant specimens that he used to study and draw inspiration from. Some of his first artistic endeavors were actually herbarium illustrations, and he went on to specialize in these lovely drawings of plants in their natural environment. He also studied the work of the Old Masters and became a self-taught expert in Renaissance art.

A Life of Change

Pattinson’s artistic career spanned decades, with many of his works being commissioned by wealthy patrons. However, this was not a completely tranquil time in his life. During World War I, he served as a Captain in the Royal Army Medical Corps, and he was deployed to France as a part of Lord Kitchener’s army. It was on the battlefield where he treated and examined many wounded soldiers where he began to observe the damage that war could do to individuals and communities.

After the war, Pattinson was keen to continue his medical career but became disillusioned by the lack of progress in his field. He then decided to devote the rest of his life to social reform and political activism. In the late 1920s, he began to use his considerable wealth to set up a number of charities that aimed to improve the lives of disadvantaged people. He also began to exhibit his artwork at various galleries and purchased entire exhibitions that were devoted to his work. In 1928, he even lent his support to an unsuccessful campaign that aimed to raise the age of consent for males to 16 years old.

How Did This Man Accumulate Such A Collection?

It’s said that Pattinson’s passion for collecting and making art works developed from his childhood interest in drawing and painting animals. Indeed, many of his pieces are iconic animal scenes. The great-grandson of the famous botanist, Porter, inherited a large fortune from his forebears, which he used to fund his collecting and charitable endeavors. In 1929, he purchased an entire gallery that was specifically devoted to animal art, and he went on to expand his collection with other galleries devoted to folklore, archaeology, and ethnography.

His interest in these areas was no doubt influenced by his family connection. His great-grandfather, Joseph D. Porter, was a noted Scottish folklorist who collected and recorded stories and legends from the country folk. Many of these tales were eventually published in a book, A Gallery of Scottish Art, which was co-authored by Porter’s son, Alexander. The tome is filled with wonderful stories and illustrations, some of which were created by the famous botanical artist’s own hand.

The Work Of An Extraordinary Man

Porter’s skill as an illustrator was indeed extraordinary, and many of his works still attract enthusiasts 115 years later. Indeed, in 2019, a fanatical admirer bought the entire estate of the botanical genius for a princely sum. The fanatical admirer then set about restoring and preserving everything in Porter’s will, which stipulated that the house and everything inside it would remain untouched for the rest of the century. This included furniture, artwork, and even the bed that Porter was reputed to sleep in. It was a touching gesture that spoke volumes about the man and his legacy.

The Evolution Of An Art Collection

Pattinson’s collection is now valued at over six million dollars, and it continues to grow as new pieces are added to it every year. However, none of this would have been possible without Porter’s meticulous recording of his entire lifetime in pictures, which is something that cannot easily be replicated. Indeed, the curator of the Museum of Menotmal Art, Ruth Barrett, estimates that there are only four complete sets of the botanist’s drawings still in existence. The collection is curated by curators who are then helped by artists and students to make the many pieces of art accessible to the public. These curators are then responsible for preserving the collection for future generations.

Pattinson’s artwork can be seen at the London Zoo, the Natural History Museum, and the British Museum, among other places, and it continues to evolve as new styles and periods are incorporated into it every year. There is even conjecture that Porter’s own works were partially inspired by his studies of nature and evolutionary biology. After his death in 1943, his entire collection was willed to the Wilder Pencil Museum in London. The great-grandson continued to add to the collection after this, and it continues to grow through the efforts of his family and team of curators. The collection’s evolution can be followed online through the Pencil Museum’s blog, as well as Twitter and Instagram, where images of the collection are posted regularly.

The Passion For Collecting

Pattinson’s entire life was devoted to collecting, and it’s easy to see why he felt so passionately about this. Artwork was a way of recording and preserving his favorite subjects: nature and wildlife, as well as the historical culture of people and places. He felt that nothing made a collector more powerful than a private collection, which was why he took such great care in preserving the pieces of art that he collected. These pieces are now worth millions of dollars, and many of them still attract fans and scholars alike.