Museum acquisitions

Museums often acquire works through donations but, in spite of funding constraints, they also make purchases to expand their collections, either bidding at auctions, negotiating private treaty sales or, in the UK, via the Acceptance in Lieu scheme.


Braintree hoard

Anglo-Saxon coin hoard discovered in Braintree by metal detectorists comes to auction

15 February 2024

An impressive group of Anglo-Saxon pennies, found by metal detectorists near Braintree in Essex, will be offered in separate lots at Noonans.

Bayeux embroidery replica

Bayeux Museum buys Victorian replica of the famous tapestry from the collection of Rolling Stones drummer

31 January 2024

The Bayeux Museum in France has bought a life-size Victorian replica of the Bayeux tapestry from the Charlie Watts sale.

Vénus de Milo

Louvre buys Vénus de Milo cast at auction

30 January 2024

The Louvre Museum has used its pre-emption right to successfully secure a 19th century cast of the Vénus de Milo at Artcurial.

Hiawatha’s Marriage

New auction records for under-represented artists as museums show purchasing power

29 January 2024

The desire by top museums to buy works by under-represented groups, including women and minority ethnic artists, has led to two new auction records in the US.

Vénus de Milo copy

News in brief including the Louvre securing a 19th century cast of the Vénus de Milo

29 January 2024

A round-up of art and antiques news from the previous seven days, including the Louvre Museum using its pre-emption right to secure a 19th century cast of the Vénus de Milo at an Artcurial auction

Prince Caspian

More than £50m of art, antiques and collectables acquired by the nation

20 December 2023

The latest annual Cultural Gifts Scheme and Acceptance in Lieu Annual Report has been published detailing the artworks and objects that will go on show to the public.

The Holy Family by Gerard David

Getty Museum buys three Old Masters to ‘bolster the collection’

06 December 2023

The Getty Museum has announced the acquisition of three Old Masters which were all bought this year from separate European sources.

Angelo Campanella print

Art Fund and Arts Council England launch initiative to encourage art donations

05 December 2023

A new publication by Art Fund and Arts Council England seeks to raise awareness about how owners of art and antiques can donate to institutions.

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Newly identified Mary Beale portrait sold to Boston museum

04 December 2023

Dealer Peter Harrison has sold a recently reidentified portrait by 17th century painter Mary Beale (1633-99) to the Museum of Fine Arts Boston.

New Testament bible

Medieval bible 'looted during Hundred Years' War' blocked from export

09 November 2023

A New Testament bible formerly owned by the French King Jean II but believed to have been in the UK for more than 600 years has been temporarily barred from export.

Cimabue picture

Louvre buys medieval panel discovered in a French kitchen

08 November 2023

A medieval panel discovered above a stove in a kitchen in France has been bought by The Louvre Museum.

Tapestry

Fundraising boost to save Henry VIII’s lost tapestry

28 October 2023

A previously lost tapestry, commissioned by Henry VIII during the turmoil of the English Reformation, is a step closer to returning to the UK.

Gravant Floral Workshop Flower Arrangement

Dealer lends ceramics to exhibition on Old Master women artists

20 October 2023

A ceramics dealer is among those supporting a major exhibition showcasing women artists this winter.

Blessington Commode

Pick of the week: Museum steps in to buy Blessington Commode

16 October 2023

An important piece of Irish marquetry furniture scheduled to sell in County Louth last week was withdrawn from sale at the 11th hour after a deal was struck with the National Museum of Ireland.

Jan Wijnants’ painting

English Heritage buys Dutch Golden Age picture

12 October 2023

English Heritage has bought a Dutch Golden Age painting that had previously been on loan to one of its properties in South Yorkshire.

Penelope and Euriclea

Angelica Kauffman picture returns to National Trust’s Stourhead after 140 years

10 October 2023

Angelica Kauffman’s Penelope and Euriclea has been bought at auction by Stourhead, the National Trust’s Wiltshire stately home, and will go back on display at the property for the first time since the mid-19th century.

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Painting returns to William Morris' ‘heaven on earth’

25 September 2023

A picture of Kelmscott Manor painted when it was the home of William and Jane Morris is returning to the house after it was acquired for The Society of Antiquaries of London.

Pamflyt Compiled Of Cheese

Say cheese: University buys Elizabethan manuscript on cheese making

19 September 2023

The University of Leeds Libraries has bought the earliest known book about cheese making in Britain.

Sceptre

Pick of the week: Sceptre recalls story of a tragic emperor

18 September 2023

This intricate gold filigree and gemset sceptre was presented to Charlotte, Empress of Mexico, by the Mexican city of San Juan del Rio.

Coade stone torchère

Regency Coade stone torchère lights up Fitzwilliam Museum collection

04 September 2023

A Regency Coade stone torchère has been acquired by The Fitzwilliam Museum from West Midlands dealership Thomas Coulborn & Sons.

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