In 1943, George (1915-2009) and Ann (b.1919) married and embarked on a lifetime together of collecting and creating art. In 1963, they visited Cornwall for the first time where they began to befriend many of the artists there, including Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, Peter Lanyon, Patrick Heron, Terry Frost, Bryan Wynter, John Wells and Paul Feiler.

Over the coming decades the couple became inextricably linked to the St Ives group as generous patrons, and George developed as an artist, exhibiting alongside the artists that he admired. Their Modern British collection went on to include works by William Scott, Robert Adams, Roger Hilton, John Tunnard and Alfred Wallis and in later years figurative and abstract works by European artists, including Picasso, Laurencin, Gris, Arp, Soulages, Heliôn and Chillida.

In 2011 more than a hundred works of art were gifted from the collection to Pallant House Gallery and Ann became a Patron. A further donation of 25 works from the collection was gifted to Southampton City Art Gallery in 2013.