Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Slade, Felix

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SLADE, FELIX (1790–1868), virtuoso and art benefactor, born at Lambeth in August 1790, was the younger son of Robert Slade, for many years secretary of the Irish Society, who realised a fortune as a proctor in Doctors' Commons, and died at his house in Walcot Place, Lambeth, on 26 Aug. 1835, being then deputy-lieutenant for Surrey. Robert Slade married Eliza, daughter of Edward Foxcroft of Halsteads in the parish of Thornton-in-Lonsdale, Yorkshire, and on the death of his elder brother, William, on 10 Jan. 1858, the Halsteads property passed to Felix. The latter became known as a liberal purchaser of books, bindings, and engravings; but the most remarkable of his collections was one of glass, on which he spent 8,000l. An elaborate catalogue was prepared, under the editorship of Sir A. W. Franks, richly illustrated, and with a preliminary dissertation by Alexander Nesbitt (privately printed, London, 1871, large 4to). Slade was elected a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1866. He frequently contributed to the exhibitions of the Archæological Institute, and some of the curious objects in his collections were illustrated and described in their journal. Slade died unmarried at Walcot Place on 29 March 1868, and his will was proved on 21 April. The personalty was sworn under 160,000l. Under the fifth codicil the testator bequeathed to the British Museum his valuable collection of ancient and modern glass, his Japanese carvings, and a selection of his pottery made by his friend and executor, Sir A. W. Franks. He bequeathed 3,000l. to be laid out upon additions to his collection of glass. A selection of his choice engravings and manuscripts, on which he had spent 16,000l., was also bequeathed to the museum, together with samples of his specimens of ancient binding. The testator then directed that 35,000l. should be expended upon the endowment of (Slade) professorships for promoting the study of the fine arts at the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, and at University College, London, with an additional endowment to the latter of six art scholarships of 50l. each per annum for students under nineteen. The first Slade professor in London was Sir Edward Poynter, whose inaugural lecture (giving some account of the disposition of Slade's bequest) was delivered at University College on 2 Oct. 1871 (Poynter, Lectures on Art, 1879). Mr. Ruskin was the first Slade professor at Oxford, and Sir Matthew Digby Wyatt at Cambridge. Slade's munificence to charitable institutions was scarcely less extensive.

A coloured chalk portrait by Mrs. Margaret Sarah Carpenter [q. v.], dated 1851, is in the print room at the British Museum.

[Gent. Mag. 1868, i. 688; Times, 31 March 1868; Yorkshire Post, 4 April 1868; Leeds Mercury, Suppl. 4 April 1868; Cooper's Mag. of Biogr. i. 186 (containing a lucid account of Slade's Art Benefactions); Archæolog. Journal (1861), xviii. 280; Waagen's Galleries and Cabinets of Art in Great Britain, 1857, pp. 217 seq.; Guide to Slade Collection of Prints in the Brit. Museum, 1869; Cat. to Slade Collection of Glass, ed. Franks, 1869.]

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