THOMPSON, Henry Yates, 1838-1928. Book collector and benefactor. Yates Thompson came from a wealthy banking family and was the principal benefactor of Dulwich Picture Gallery (then the Dulwich College Picture Gallery) during the early twentieth century. In 1908 he became Chairman of the Gallery Committee at the age of 70, and the following year on the death of the then Keeper (who on Yates Thompson’s recommendation was not replaced) he personally took over much of the day-to-day management of the Gallery. At his initiative the building and furniture were repaired, an up-dated Catalogue was produced in 1914, and booklets and postcards of the collection were made available for the first time. In addition to giving a Canaletto and a Reynolds to the Gallery, Yates Thompson also inspired his friend Charles Fairfax Murray (1849-1919) anonymously to donate 35 British portraits to the Gallery, thereby incidentally underscoring its urgent need for more hanging space. Yates Thompson worked with fellow Gallery Governor and architect ET Hall (qv) on the designs for four additional rooms, and personally financed the building of them - work which was finally completed in 1915. 

Hilary Rosser