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.


Chelsea porcelain vase

Chelsea ‘Gold Anchor’ vase joins portrait bought by V&A

21 August 2023

The Victoria and Albert Museum has bought the only known version of a vase produced by the Chelsea porcelain factory during its ‘Gold Anchor’ period.

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Belgian dealership takes pride in sales to Dutch and American institutions

07 August 2023

Antwerp dealership Galerie Lowet de Wotrenge has made two sales to international institutions.

Mottisfont seal matrix

Rare medieval seal matrix bought by the National Trust at auction returns to its original home after 500 years

01 August 2023

A rare medieval seal matrix that was found by a metal detectorist in a field and offered at auction will now go on display at its original home.

Henry VIII

Rich tapestries: fundraising plans for historic textiles

25 July 2023

Fundraising is under way at two museums and a third has just finished a lengthy conservation project.

Tapestry

Funds needed to buy Henry VIII tapestry to return it to UK

24 July 2023

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

Title page of cricket book

Howzat: British Library nets rare cricket book from dealer

17 July 2023

An early book on cricket from the library of commentator John Arlott has been acquired for the British Library from London dealership Peter Harrington.

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Top stories this week including news of a Warwickshire museum buying a rare interracial portrait

02 July 2023

The most viewed stories on this website over the last week included news of a Compton Verney’s purchase of a rare 17th century double portrait depicting two women, one black and one white.

Missal prayer book

National Trust unveils prayer book connected to Charles II's escape bought at Liverpool auction

27 June 2023

The National Trust has confirmed its purchase of a prayer book at auction in Liverpool which is now on display at Staffordshire farmhouse Moseley Old Hall.

Rebecca Solomon picture

Solomon work to stay in UK after two museums step in following auction

26 June 2023

A work by Rebecca Solomon (1832-86) originally offered at Sotheby’s and later blocked from export to the US has been bought by two UK museums.

Double portrait

Compton Verney buys rare 17th century double portrait of black and white women

23 June 2023

Compton Verney has confirmed the purchase of a rare 17th century double portrait depicting two women, one black and one white. It had previously sold at auction in 2021.

Joseph Wright of Derby Self Portrait

Art Fund helps museums to buy 900 items in 2022 with £4.5m of funding

22 June 2023

The Art Fund’s latest annual review revealed it had helped support acquisitions of more than 900 objects and works of art for museums in 2022.

William Holman-Hunt’s medal

Holman-Hunt’s RSA medal purchased by the Ashmolean

19 June 2023

A medal awarded to Pre- Raphaelite Brotherhood artist William Holman-Hunt (1827- 1910) has been purchased by the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford from dealer Tregeagle Fine Art.

Corday letter

Letter by Marat murderer Corday bought by Normandy institutions

14 June 2023

A letter of justification by the woman who assassinated the French Revolutionary journalist and politician Jean-Paul Marat has been bought by a group of Normandy institutions at auction.

Renoir

Ulster Museum buys a Renoir – the first Impressionist painting to enter a Northern Irish public collection

13 June 2023

National Museums NI has bought Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s (1841-1919) L’allée au bois via the government’s Acceptance in Lieu scheme for the Ulster Museum.

Constable drawing

Constable drawing returns to Colchester

08 June 2023

A John Constable drawing of St Botolph’s Priory is to return ‘home’ after Friends of Colchester Museums purchased it from a client of auction house Roseberys.

Roan bust

Roman bust found in Texas charity shop to return to Ludwig I’s collection in Germany after more than 70 years away

27 April 2023

A Roman bust discovered in a US charity shop and bought for just $34.99 will be repatriated to Germany.

Millicent Garrett Fawcett

Swynnerton’s Suffragette portrait of Millicent Fawcett enters Parliament

17 April 2023

A rediscovered portrait of a leading figure in the fight for women’s suffrage has been purchased for the UK Parliament.

Roman Missal prayer book

National Trust buys prayer book of ‘Charles II’s priest’ for Moseley Old Hall

15 April 2023

The National Trust has bought a prayer book at auction in Liverpool for display at Staffordshire farmhouse Moseley Old Hall.

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Omai (Mai) saga ends with a joint purchase

10 April 2023

Sir Joshua Reynolds’ Portrait of Omai, now to be known as Mai, will be bought jointly by The National Portrait Gallery and the Getty Museum after long-running discussions.

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US museum sales for Forge and Lynch during Asia Week

10 April 2023

Oliver Forge and Brendan Lynch made a series of sales to US museums at the recent edition of Asia Week New York (March 15-30).

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