Ionides Collection

Mrs. Nellie Ionides (1883-1962) was the daughter of Sir Marcus Samuel, 1st Viscount Bearsted and later Lord Mayor of London. Born in 1883 into a life of privilege, she was descended from an East End Jewish family. Her family made its fortune through trade and oil. They established Shell Transport at the time when the motor car was a novel invention.

Nellie married Walter Levy who distinguished himself in the First World War and won the DSO. In 1923 he died from the effects of the trenches. Nellie later married Basil Ionides the pioneering Art Deco designer. From 1931, they lived in great style at Buxted Park in Sussex and at Riverside House in Twickenham. Both shared a love of the arts and collecting. Nellie started collecting autographs in her teens and this graduated onto paintings, porcelain, enamel snuff boxers and Meissen figures.

She bequeathed her collection of topographical paintings to the borough and in addition collected conversation pieces and dog pictures (many of which were donated to the Kennel Club in London). Nellie amassed a remarkable collection of local topographical views from the 18th and 19th centuries, which depict the many important properties within the borough, as well as gardens and the natural landscapes including the famed view from Richmond Hill.