The man and his origins

The British education

At the turn of the 19th century, the excellent education standards of the British Colleges and Universities attracted numerous students of wealthy families across the old and new worlds. Calouste Gulbenkian was no exception. After finishing his first studies in Turkey, he was sent by his father to Europe to further complete his education. He first stayed in Marseille, where he perfected his French, then followed to the prestigious Kingís College, in London, where he graduated in Engineering and Applied Sciences. From then onwards, a special bond between Calouste Gulbenkian, the city of London and the British culture emerged, one which would prove to be rather difficult at times, but nevertheless, one which would last his whole life. In fact, not only did Calouste Gulbenkian decide to settle in London in 1897, with both his wife Nevarte and son Nubar, but also decided to become, in 1902, a British Citizen. Furthermore, he entrusted the National Gallery with some of his paintings, where they were publicly displayed for the first time. As a result, London became the place where Calouste Gulbenkian thought of building a museum to house the whole of his art collection.

Calouste Gulbenkianís personal library mirrors the importance and influence that the British culture had on the Collectorís background and in moulding his character, i.e. in making him a cultivated person and an art collector. Dating back to Calouste Gulbenkianís Kingís College days, many of his study books remain preserved: Graphic and analytic statics : in their pratical application to the treatment of stresses in roofs, solid girders...and other frameworks and The diferential and integral calculus are but a few examples. Within this section, there are even books that were offered to Calouste Gulbenkian in recognition of his excellent performance throughout the degree, up until his graduation year, in 1887. In addition, his collection contains a set of classic books on Anglo-Saxon history, art and culture, written by famous British authors like William Shakespeare, Geoffrey Chaucer, William Morris, David Hume, Edward Gibbon, John Ruskin and Charles Dickens, among others. Moreover, as far as periodicals are concerned, it is worth highlighting publications such as The Burlington magazine for connoisseurs, first published in 1903, The studio (1893-1964), The art journal (1849-1912) and The connoisseur (1901-1992). The mentioned periodicals were all published in London and were amongst the best art review, art theory and art history magazines that were printed during the first half of the 20th century. For this same reason, Calouste Gulbenkian subscribed to them all.

slideshow previous velocidade: next + close