Completed British 19th C, except portraits, South West England: Artists and Subjects 7 Can we establish the provenance of this painting of the Doge’s Palace before it entered the collection of Sir Frederick Berryman?

Topic: Execution date

Samuel Christy MP owned at least 3 Cooke paintings of Venice, but his picture of this subject was horizontal and much larger. It was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1852 no 405. However, this painting could be that owned by Mrs Christie Miller 51 x 40 in, which Munday [John Munday, Edward William Cooke ..., Woodbridge, 1996] dates to 1852 [p.347] The Christie Millers seem to be a West Country family. Cooke painted Venice many times between 1850 and 1879. It could be a painting of the mid 1850s, but one should bear in mind that he sometimes repeated his subjects.

Martin Hopkinson, Entry reviewed by Art UK

Completed, Outcome

This discussion is now closed. The acquisition method has been corrected ('bequeathed by Frances Annie Berryman, 1956') for this and 15 other records. It has not been possible to determine the provenance before the Berryman siblings.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the discussion. To anyone viewing this discussion for the first time, please see below for all the comments that led to this conclusion.


Jacob Simon,

This discussion has attracted very little response in the last 18 months. Could this be because Martin's introduction to the discussion really says it all, or nearly all? He has identified that ths fine painting could be that owned by Mrs Christie Miller 51 x 40 in, which Munday [John Munday, Edward William Cooke ..., Woodbridge, 1996] dates to 1852 [p.347].

Martin has also warned us that Cooke painted Venice many times between 1850 and 1879.

I wonder if the Museum of Somerset has information about the reverse of the painting. It comes from a relatively recently formed collection. Is there a dealer's or saleroom label or marking on the reverse of the frame or on the stretcher?

Marcie Doran,

Here is a similar work, 'Bridge of Sighs, Venice', dated 1858 – click on the image to see the exquisite detail:


The Collection website indicates that the “Common Name” of this work is "Painting of the Ducal Palace and Piazetta, Venice". What is the source of the longer name?

Page 74 of the catalogue (see extract, attached) for the Paris Universal Exhibition, 1855, shows as no. 757 'Ducal Palace and Piazzetta, Venice', the property of S. Christy, Esq., M.P." I suppose that no. 757 was the larger work mentioned in the opening of this discussion.


Frances Annie Berryman did not "gift" this work in 1987. She passed away in 1956. Please see the attached articles.

Fifteen other works of art include that misleading date of acquisition:

The following work has a more expansive record of acquisition (although the "gift" could not have been in 1957):

One work of art shows the correct information:

Somerset Museums Service,

I don’t think I have any information I can add, I found no labels when reviewing the collection. Not sure why the Berryman bequest is dated on your website as 1987 it was 1956. There are several versions of this painting including one in America being used to make copy prints for sale recently. There are slight differences between each version but hopefully they are all by Cooke and not copies.

Incidentally, the Christie Miller family were originally Christy from Essex and were, still are, hatters, they claim since 1773. Wakefield Christy (1835-98=Mary Elizabeth Richardson d. 1929) made a fortune from the company as well as inheriting Britwell Court from his uncle Samuel whose middle name was Miller. In 1890 Wakefield changed his surname to Christie Miller. Britwell Court contained a famous library and Wakefield added to it buying rare books and may have bought paintings as well. He was worth over £900,000 when he died in 1898. His eldest son Sydney sold the library, which was dispersed but the most important items went to the Huntington Library, California and one painting is in the Getty museum. Mary Elizabeth must have been a gardener as well as an art lover as she has a rose named after her!

Thank you, Somerset Museums Service. The acquisition method has been updated ('bequeathed by Frances Annie Berryman, 1956') for this and the 15 other works noted by Marcie as having the wrong information.

There are another 10 works in the collection of Somerset Museums Service with 'Berryman' in the acquisition field. Could you clarify how you would like the others to be worded, please? e.g.