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.


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British Library wins unique key to medieval English heraldry

15 September 2008

The British Library has secured the oldest surviving roll of arms in English history after a successful fundraising effort to keep it in the UK. The Dering Roll dates from the last quarter of the 13th century and depicts 324 coats of arms, approximately a quarter of the English baronage during the time of Edward I, making it a vital record for the study of heraldry in medieval England.

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Wartime treat that takes the biscuit

11 August 2008

This Carrs of Carlisle biscuit tin looks like pretty much any other Christmas biscuit tin from 1941 – except that it happens to be unopened.

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Canterbury Quadrant finds new home at BM

30 June 2008

AN historic and important medieval scientific instrument, known as the Canterbury Quadrant, has been saved for the nation. St James’s specialist dealers Trevor Philip and Sons have sold the quadrant to the British Museum for £411,250.

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Louvre acquire ‘withdrawn’ royal French jewel

29 April 2008

The Louvre have secured the return of a French Crown Jewel after 121 years, through a private sale with Christie’s New York.

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V&A acquire Godwin vases

02 April 2008

Kensington Church Street dealer Paul Reeves did a double-take at Sotheby’s earlier this month. As well as curating their March 20 mixed-owner decorative arts sale titled The Best of British, he also mounted a week-long selling exhibition of his own stock under the same title in their Bond Street Galleries.

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Charity shop bargain unveiled as Edinburgh rarity after 40 years

17 March 2008

IT’S the sort of find that every dealer dreams of – a unique and valuable antique lying unrecognised and just waiting to be snapped up.

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Bookcase returns home to Lancaster

05 February 2008

A particularly impressive and well-provenanced example of cabinetmaking by the celebrated firm Gillows of Lancaster has returned home.

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Another treasure from the Oxford terrace

28 January 2008

Dukes have negotiated the sale to the nation of two major Pre-Raphaelite paintings. Music by Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones and Hamlet and Ophelia by Dante Gabriel Rossetti were found in the Oxfordshire home of the late Jean Preston that also yielded two panels from the San Marco altarpiece by Fra Angelico sold by the Dorchester auctioneers last year for £1.7m.

Future of Frink archive in doubt

12 November 2007

THE closure of Sherborne House in Dorset leaves a question mark over the future of the Elizabeth Frink Archive, the premier assemblage of the sculptor’s work.

Percival David collection moves to British Museum

12 November 2007

A FUNDING crisis means the Percival David Foundation collection of Chinese ceramics will move from the University of London’s School of African and Oriental Studies (SOAS) to the British Museum.

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Dadd sketch heads for the Met in New York

29 October 2007

ART dealer Andrew Sim has sold a watercolour by Richard Dadd (1817-1886) to the Metropolitan Museum in New York. It is the first work by the enigmatic Victorian artist to enter the museum’s vast art collection.

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Aphrodite to return to Red House

23 July 2007

Soon after marrying his young wife Jane, William Morris commissioned his friend Philip Webb to build them a house. The end result, completed in 1859, was Red House, named after its steep red-tiled roof.

Manuscript saved

23 July 2007

HERITAGE grants have helped the British Museum acquire the 15th century illuminated manuscript known as the Wardington Hours.

Doulton seeking buyer for Minton archive

14 May 2007

ROYAL Doulton Ltd are looking for a new owner for their Minton paper archive – the collection of thousands of original watercolours, drawings, pattern books and other manuscript material relating to designs for the Minton factory dating back to 1793.

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Marlborough silver to remain at V&A

08 May 2007

The Victoria and Albert Museum have secured the funds to acquire this spectacular early 18th century French silver ewer and basin commissioned by John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough.

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Ashmolean secures historic Chelsea collection

10 April 2007

After a year-long fund-raising effort, The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford has just secured the future of its most impressive Chelsea porcelain exhibit.

Buy Contemporary art charity tells regional museums

10 April 2007

Museums should learn lessons of the 20th century

Museum buys unique archive of slave trade

18 December 2006

The Museum in Docklands have acquired a rare and significant archive of 18th century papers highlighting London’s role in the transatlantic slave trade.

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Deal sees Degas saved for nation

04 December 2006

This Edgar Degas bronze owned by the late art dealer Lillian Browse has been saved for the nation in a deal brokered by Christie’s in lieu of inheritance tax. It follows a similar sale recently arranged by the auctioneers that saw the National Gallery acquire two works by Italian artist Giovanni Paolo Panini.

Call for action as museums say collecting is no longer a top priority

06 November 2006

MUSEUMS are so strapped for cash when it comes to buying works of art that only one in 50 says adding to their collections is now a top priority.

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