The heart of the present day Collection was formed by Sir Thomas William Holburne (1793-1874). As a second son, Thomas William (generally known as William) first pursued a naval career. He ultimately inherited the Baronetcy in 1820 following the death of his elder brother, Francis, at the Battle of Bayonne in 1814.
In 1882 this collection of over 4,000 objects, pictures and books was bequeathed to the people of Bath by Holburne’s sister, Mary Anne Barbara Holburne. One of the Holburne’s main purposes is to preserve the things that have been entrusted to our care.