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.


Van Dyck given more time

24 February 2014

The fundraising campaign to buy Van Dyck’s final self-portrait for the National Portrait Gallery will continue into the summer.

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£1.3m purchase of unique 15th century survivor

07 January 2014

The British Museum and Wiltshire Museum have bought the Lacock Cup, a silver chalice made in the first half of the 15th century, for £1.3m.

Chinese art collection for Ashmolean

23 December 2013

The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford has been given an important private collection of modern and contemporary Chinese art.

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Galleries gain Freud's Constable

04 November 2013

This John Constable (1776-1837) portrait has been acquired by the National Galleries of Scotland from the estate of the artist Lucian Freud (1922-2011) through the Government’s Acceptance in Lieu scheme.

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Lowther casket goes to Bowes Museum

04 November 2013

An 18th century casket made from fragments of Chinese porcelain has been bought by the Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle, County Durham.

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Vendor’s tax deal proves a gift to museum too

12 August 2013

An English provincial museum has been able to acquire an export-stopped Old Master painting for a knockdown price of £1.61m thanks to the vendor striking a tax deal.

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Rediscovered Japanese coffer sells to Rijksmuseum at £5m

09 July 2013

An exceptional piece of 17th century Japanese export lacquer with a provenance to match has produced the highest auction price in France this year when it was sold to the Rijksmuseum for a hammer price of €5.9m (£5.26m).

Christopher Dresser Society launches

10 June 2013

The Christopher Dresser Society will be launched at Teesside University on June 20.

Bodleian acquire Hopkins poem

07 May 2013

The original autograph draft manuscript for Gerard Manley Hopkins’ 1879 poem ‘Binsey Poplars’ has been acquired by the Bodleian Libraries.

Museum donation helps make fashionable acquisition

11 February 2013

The Design Museum has made its first significant fashion acquisition thanks to a donation by Jill Ritblat through the Art Fund.

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Wellby bequest is ‘best for a century’

04 February 2013

The collection of close to 500 silver and gold objects donated to the Ashmolean museum in Oxford by the late dealer-collector Michael Wellby has been described as the most important bequest of its type for over a century.

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Doyle oversee deal to boost archive at Anne Frank House

19 November 2012

The Anne Frank House in Amsterdam has acquired an important collection of letters, photos and documents relating to Otto Frank, the father of Anne Frank.

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Appeal secures £3.9m Poussin

05 November 2012

An appeal launched by the Art Fund to save a Poussin painting for the nation has hit its £3.9m target.

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Manet portrait will stay at Ashmolean

28 August 2012

Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum has announced that it had succeeded in an eight-month campaign to save Edouard Manet’s ‘Portrait of Mademoiselle Claus’ for the nation.

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Museum buys Leach classic

23 July 2012

This slipware charger by Bernard Leach has been acquired by the Harris Museum and Art Gallery in Preston.

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Second Burges brooch makes appearance

14 June 2012

Antiques Roadshow and Midlands auction house Gildings have conspired again to find a second William Burges brooch.

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Tate acquire major photography collection

21 May 2012

The Tate are to acquire a major photographic collection depicting images of London, which will go on display in a dedicated exhibition, entitled ‘Another London’, at Tate Britain at the end of July.

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Louvre acquires tureens made for George III

16 January 2012

SOTHEBY’S Paris have announced that they have negotiated a private treaty sale to the Louvre for an undisclosed sum of a pair of silver tureens, covers, liners and stands by the French goldsmith Robert-Joseph Auguste.

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Grant Dixon’s Worcester: not too Catholic taste

21 May 2011

THOMAS Grant Dixon formed his Worcester collection from 1940-70. This discerning collector was a great friend of H. Rissik Marshall, the famed Worcester collector and author whose collection now resides in the Ashmolean at Oxford.

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Christie’s broker sale of Ottoman tankard to V&A

26 April 2011

IN a private sale negotiated by Christie’s, the Victoria and Albert Museum has acquired this remarkable 16th century tankard made for the Ottoman court.

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