Greenwich & The Macpherson Collection

The Macpherson Collection today

One of the original collections of the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich (which was founded in 1934 and opened by HM George VI in 1937) was that of Arthur George Holdsworth Macpherson, Great-great-uncle of E&W chairman Angus Macpherson.

Arthur George Holdsworth Macpherson (1873−1942), the son of a Calcutta high-court judge, had lifelong passions both for the sea and for collecting maritime prints, and was a sort of Francis Chichester / Alec Rose figure who came to prominence in the 1930s as he sailed the world in his 25 foot cutter Driac II. John Scott Hughes wrote up his tale in the book Macpherson's Voyages.

Macpherson's collection of over 11,000 items was acquired for the Royal Museums, Greenwich by Sir James Caird, the 1st Baronet of Glenfarquhar, in 1928. This came in very handy for Macpherson was heading for bankruptcy at the time on account of the collection. In gratitude to Sir James, Macpherson named his cutter Driac which is Caird spelled backwards. Macpherson was eternally in his debt.

The Macpherson Collection was the NMM's founding collection being Caird´s first purchase for it after a national appeal failed to raise the sum needed.

Now displayed in the National Martime Mueum and Queens House Galleries, the Macpherson collection is cared for by the Society for Nautical Research, which is the trustee of the Macpherson Collection Endowment Fund.

On Saturday 13 July 2013, England & Wales Branch paid a visit to the collection.