13 Lansdowne Rd, Notting Hill, London
Chilham Castle, Chilham, Canterbury CT4 8DB, UK
Sir Edmund Davis (August 3, 1861 - February 20, 1939) was a mining magnate and art collector. Lansdowne House was a newsly block of studio apartments commissioned by the Charles Ricketts and Charles Shannon's friend and patron, the South African millionaire Sir Edmond Davis, with whom, along with his wife, the artists shared a great friendship.
Edmund Gabriel Davis was born on 3 August 1861 at Tintern, Gardiner's Creek Road, Toorak, Melbourne, Australia, the second of the four children of Samuel Davis, merchant, and Josephine, daughter of Jacob Bensusan. He had two brothers and one sister. Born into a mercantile family, Davis was brought up in Paris from the age of eight, and studied art. In 1879 he left for the Cape Colony to take up a position with his maternal uncle's company, launching him on the path to power and fortune in the South African mining industry. He married Mary Zillah Halford in 1888. He was based in London from 1889. In 1898 he accompanied Cecil Rhodes on the latter's visit to the Kaiser to discuss the Cape-Cairo cable. During the First World War he worked closely with the Admiralty and Ministry of Munitions, and was instrumental in securing supplies of vital minerals for Britain and France. A passionate collector of art, in 1915 he presented a selection of modem British works to the Luxembourg Museum, Paris. After the war he played a key part in the development of the copperfields of Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia), and joined the Board of the British South Africa Company; he sat on the boards of 42 companies. He was knighted in 1927, and became High Sheriff of Kent in 1930. Most of his collection of works by Old Masters resided at his home, Chilham Castle, near Canterbury. Later he gave part of his art collection to the South African Art Gallery in Cape Town and established scholarships at the University of London. He belonged to the New West End Synagogue but took no part in Jewish communal affairs.
What remained of the Davis collection was sold by Lady Davis following Sir Edmund's death and, there being no heirs, by executors after her death in 1941.
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