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Australian businessman lends 19th century art collection to Kensington museum

A display of British paintings from the 19th century is going to be shown in the UK for the first time this year thanks to an Australian businessman. 23 paintings are going to be shown at Leighton House Museum located in Kensington. The paintings are going to include works by artists John William Waterhouse, GF Watts, and William Holman Hunt.

The art is being lent by businessmen John Schaeffer and many of the works held in his collection of not been seen for 100 years. Mr Schaffer was born in the Netherlands but moved to Australia during the 1950s and became a successful businessman running a cleaning firm with a staff of nearly 24,000 people.

In a recent interview with the Observer newspaper he commented, “I started my business just when outsourcing was becoming a big deal. For the first time ever companies were not doing the cleaning themselves and they wanted a company to do it for them, and that’s when my business came into its own.”

The reason I started collecting Pre-Raphaelite paintings was because of an exhibition I saw at the Tate in 1984. It was a life changing moment and it galvanised my collecting of art.

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