Published  12/03/2002

Fleming’s notes continue

A new gallery and a longstanding art collection opened last month in Berkeley Street, London. A flood of nightingales sang all night in Berkeley Square, stimulated perhaps by the strain of bagpipes from the doors of the Fleming-Wyfold Art Foundation, which is behind the venture. Scottish painting has never had any adequate representation in London. The collection built up by Robert Fleming’s Holdings Ltd, one of Britain’s most successful and indigenous merchant banks, began in 1968. The bank was founded by Robert Fleming from Dundee around the turn of the century. Fleming had become an astute investor in American railroads and other stock in the 19th century. The new bank capitalised on his experience in America’s economic expansion in the 20th century, and the Fleming family, his descendants, finally sold the business to Chase Manhattan Corporation for a figure reputed to be over 3 billion in 2000. The collection, built up since 1968, has been separately held by the Fleming-Wyfold Foundati,,e,,e,,e,,eiikoiikoiikoiiko l l l l s s s s oonaoonaoonaoonaggseggseggseggseWW aWW aWW aWW a , , , ,eeH,eeH,eeH,eeH,uuo uuo uuo uuo aa iaa iaa iaa iDD dDD dDD dDD d s s s snnn nnn nnn nnn jj Ajj Ajj Ajj Arroerroerroerroerrawrrawrrawrraw eet eet eet eet vveSvveSvveSvveSeet eet eet eet mpbell, Stephen Conroy and Peter Howson. Selina Skipwith, the present curator, values the collection alone at about 7 million for the 800 or so paintings, which remain. She has freedom to buy, to cull and sell as she sees fit, which is how the collection has always been handled. A Fleming bank still continues in a new incarnation nearby in Dover Street. The piper who played every morning in the bank originally retired there last fall. But the pipes are still occasionally heard; it stirs up the nightingales they say.

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