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.


Jane Austen letter

Museum appeals for final £10,000 to secure Jane Austen handwritten letter

19 July 2019

Jane Austen's House Museum in Hampshire has launched an appeal to raise the remaining funds needed to buy a fragment of a letter written by the great novelist in 1814.

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Palace of Versailles buys back €4m rococo commode from US collector

15 July 2019

A Louis XV period rococo commode made in 1744 for the Château de Versailles has returned home after more than 30 years out of France.

Chippendale

Victoria and Albert Museum acquires Chippendale's Harewood House pier tables and mirrors for the nation

18 June 2019

A set of pier tables and mirrors from the Thomas Chippendale workshop has been accepted in lieu for the nation and allocated to the Victoria & Albert Museum.

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Burne-Jones sketches head to Delaware museum via Cambridge

17 June 2019

Two studies by Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones for his 1868 oil Hymenaeus will soon be reunited with the finished painting.

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Getty museum buys Stoss crucifix and Joseph Wright of Derby painting

11 June 2019

The J Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles has emerged as the buyer of two major works: Corpus Christi, a small, 15th century wooden sculpture by Veit Stoss, and Two Boys with a Bladder (1769-70), a painting by Joseph Wright of Derby.

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Hogarth painting saved for the nation and can stay at its Leicester museum home

31 May 2019

A William Hogarth (1697-1764) painting that has been on loan to the New Walk Museum & Art Gallery in Leicester since 1943 has been purchased for the gallery.

Suggs

Madness donates costumes and memorabilia to Victoria and Albert Museum for theatre gallery

23 May 2019

To celebrate 40 years since the release of Madness’ ‘One Step Beyond’ - the 1979 debut album by the British ska-pop group - the V&A has unveiled a collection of memorabilia.

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Getty Museum snaps up ancient gems cache at Christie’s New York

13 May 2019

The Getty Museum has emerged as the mystery buyer of close to half of a collection of ancient engraved gems sold by Christie’s New York.

Michael Ayrton

Jerwood Collection buys Michael Ayrton picture from Hertfordshire council auction at Cheffins

10 May 2019

The Jerwood Collection of Modern British art has emerged as the buyer of ‘Encounter No 1’, an oil painting by Michael Ayrton (1921-75). After selling at the recent auction it will now go on public view.

Solomon Alexander Hart watercolour

Early depiction of a British synagogue interior by first Jewish member of the Royal Academy sells to Ben Uri Gallery at auction

03 May 2019

A watercolour by Solomon Alexander Hart (1806-1881), the first Jewish member of the Royal Academy, drew dramatic competition at Tennants’ latest sale in North Yorkshire.

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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