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The Mond Bequest at King's College London: A Celebration

Ludwig and Frida as patrons and collectors

Raphael's ChristRaphael's ChristA good part of Ludwig Mond’s patronage was naturally directed towards science and industry. He founded, endowed and housed the Royal Society’s Davy-Faraday Laboratory, co-founded the Society for Chemical Industry, and presented equipment to the Universities of Rome and Padua.

But, thanks to the complementary interests and enthusiasm of Frida and Miss Hertz, the growing family fortune was put to work in other directions too.

The Monds also became collectors of art on a grand scale. Miss Hertz took lessons from an eminent German art historian, Jean-Paul Richter; and Ludwig retained Richter's services as a consultant, with a brief to locate and buy the most distinguished available Old Masters - only works, Ludwig stipulated, that would be worthy of inclusion in a national collection.

The most notable lasting result of this side of their activities was the Mond Bequest to the National Gallery, made conditionally on Ludwig’s death in 1909, and definitively after Frida’s in 1923. A recent exhibition celebrating the Bequest was held at the Gallery from 14 July - 29 October 2006, accompanied by a descriptive catalogue by the Director, Charles Saumarez Smith.

At the same time, the Monds and Miss Hertz became active patrons to large numbers of living artists, writers and scholars, particularly young and struggling ones.

Virgin and ChildVirgin and ChildTwo with particular relevance to King’s College’s relations with the Monds deserve special mention.

Among the scholars was Israel Gollancz, later to marry Henriette Hertz’s neice Alide Goldschmidt, having met her through the Monds, and still later to become Professor of English at King’s, and first Secretary of the newly-founded British Academy.

And among the artists was the sculptress of a bust of Frida, which was executed in 1886 and presented to King’s in 1930 by Lady Alide Gollancz: Anna Dabis, a fellow German émigrée, who was about thirty-six when she executed it, and only started to exhibit at the Royal Academy in the following year.

This side to the Monds’ patronly activity has left permanent memorials too, many of them due mainly or wholly to Frida, before and after Ludwig’s death – above all the Shakespeare, Warton and Israel Gollancz Lectures, along with the Sir Israel Gollancz Prize, at the British Academy; and the Master Mind, Philosophical, and Aspects of Art Lectures endowed by Miss Hertz, also at the Academy

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