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Towneley family

British, 19th century


The descendants of Charles Towneley, collector of ancient art, retained his famous chalice of Abbott Suger of Saint-Denis after his 1805 death, though Charles' ancient marbles went to the British Museum. The chalice (now in the NGA) had been acquired by Towneley after it was stolen from the Paris Cabinet National des Médailles et Antiques in 1804 and smuggled out of France. It was held by the family until sometime between 1880 and 1920, and purchased by London art dealer Harry Harding at a 1920 public auction.

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