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.


Joseph Gott’s Greyhound with Puppies

Birmingham gallery acquires marble sculpture with support from Tomasso Brothers

02 May 2019

UK dealership Tomasso Brothers Fine Art has helped a Birmingham gallery to acquire a 19th century sculpture by the ‘Landseer of marble’.

Zucchi's portrait of architect James Adam.

New York Old Master dealer helps UK museums buy Zucchi portrait of Scottish architect and designer James Adam

22 April 2019

The National Galleries of Scotland and the Victoria and Albert Museum have bought Italian artist Antonio Zucchi’s (1726-95) portrait of architect James Adam (1732-94).

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Dealer Andrew Sim sells Arctic Convoy pictures to Imperial War Museum

19 April 2019

Dealer Andrew Sim has sold 14 Second World War pictures by Polish-born artist Feliks Topolski (1907-89) to the Imperial War Museum.

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Signs of the times: Single owner collection stands out at Paris auction

08 April 2019

Pioneer collection of street furniture goes from Parisian flat to the saleroom.

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Single-owner sale: Signs that Paris appreciates its streetscapes

08 April 2019

French and foreign bidders flock to white-glove sale of pioneer collection of the city’s heritage

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Historic Paris shop sign collection acquired by Musée Carnavalet from auction house

30 March 2019

Eight evocative antique shop signs, symbols of Paris’ ancient streetscapes, are off to the Musée Carnavalet, the city’s museum in the Marais district dedicated to the history of the French capital.

Dalí lamps

Salvador Dalí’s surrealist ‘champagne’ lamps designed for West Sussex home bought by V&A Museum

19 March 2019

A pair of ‘champagne’ lamps designed by surrealist artist Salvador Dalí has been bought by the Victoria and Albert Museum and will be reunited with Dalí’s Mae West Lips sofa.

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Candlestand bought at auction reunited with pair at York museum after half a century apart

18 March 2019

A pair of rare George II rosewood candlestands c.1745-60 has been reunited by Fairfax House in York after one of them was spotted at a Woolley & Wallis auction at the start of the year.

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Wright of Derby portrait of Captain Bayly bought by Virginia's Colonial Williamsburg collection at Sotheby's

11 March 2019

Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia has acquired a Joseph Wright of Derby (1734-97) portrait of an Irish veteran of the French and Indian War. The foundation bought it at Sotheby’s Old Master day sale in London in December when it sold for £40,000 plus premium.

Tony Benn

Tony Benn archive heads to British Library after help from auction house Christie’s

06 March 2019

The archive of Labour’s longest-serving MP Tony Benn (1925-2014) has been accepted by the British Library.

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Pick of the week: Quilt from a life of cold comfort sells to Bowes Museum at Tennants' auction

04 March 2019

The Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle was among the buyers when Tennants sold 13 quilts that belonged to Durham hill farmer Hannah Hauxwell (1926-2018) on February 9.

‘Venus and Cupid’ by Lucas Cranach the Elder

Trio of high-value Old Master paintings enter museums

25 February 2019

Three major Old Master acquisitions by museums have been announced over the last fortnight. They include two works that headlined London’s latest auction series in this category.

Anthony van Dyck portrait

Hungarian government helps Budapest museum purchase £5m Anthony van Dyck portrait of English princess at Christie’s auction

21 February 2019

The Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest has announced that it bought the Sir Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641) portrait of Princess Mary, daughter of Charles I, that sold for £5m at Christie’s in December.

Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Salvator Mundi’

Salvator Mundi: Louvre museum asks owner to loan world’s most expensive painting for Paris exhibition

20 February 2019

The Louvre museum in Paris has requested the loan of Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Salvator Mundi’ for its major exhibition dedicated to the artist opening in October.

Hogarth's ‘The Wollaston Family’

Local artist to auction ‘Hogarth’ artwork to help Leicester trust keep original Hogarth painting

16 February 2019

The City of Leicester Museums Trust is hoping to raise £565,000 to keep a William Hogarth painting on the walls of a local gallery.

Professor David Starkey at Hever Castle unveiling a portrait of Mary Queen of Scots discovered by dealer Philip Mould

Prof David Starkey: ‘Flair more important than great art scholarship to be a highly successful art dealer’

12 February 2019

Prof David Starkey has said the most successful art dealers, such as his friend Philip Mould, do not necessarily have the greatest knowledge of art history but rather possess 'a flair for discoveries'.

Crosby Garrett Roman helmet

Government strengthens law to protect treasure finds

01 February 2019

The government is proposing to strengthen the Treasure Act to include important finds that do not fit the current legal definition.

coffer

Oxford’s Bodleian Library buys 500-year-old book-box from Paris dealer

24 January 2019

The University of Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries has acquired a rare 15th-century French Gothic coffer – one of the largest-surviving examples of a late medieval box used for transporting precious books.

Dickens

Charles Dickens 'lost portrait' purchase for the nation fundraising hits £60,000

21 January 2019

A public fund-raising effort to purchase the ‘lost’ portrait of Charles Dickens for the nation from dealership Philip Mould & Company has reached £60,000, a third of the asking price.

Vilhelm Hammershoi painting

Getty Museum buys classic Danish interior scene by Vilhelm Hammershøi

19 December 2018

The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles has bought a painting by Danish artist Vilhelm Hammershøi (1864-1916) barely months after it fetched a major sum at a Christie’s auction.

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