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.


Titanic

Museums and film-maker James Cameron team-up to buy Titanic wreck artefacts

31 July 2018

A group of museums, with the backing of film-maker James Cameron, has teamed up to buy artefacts from the wreck of the 'Titanic'.

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Bronzed in London: sculptures take centre stage as heat rises during capital’s big sales week

09 July 2018

Important works of European sculpture were stars of the London auction season’s highpoint last week.

Portrait 1

National Gallery acquires record-setting self-portrait of Artemisia Gentileschi for £3.6m from London gallery

06 July 2018

A recently discovered self-portrait by Artemisia Gentileschi, the celebrated Italian Baroque artist, has been acquired by the National Gallery in London for £3.6m.

Mars

‘Dresden Mars’ returns to Saxony instead of auction at Sotheby’s

03 July 2018

The bronze figure known as the ‘Dresden Mars’ is returning home after the Dresden State Art Collections agreed to buy the artwork ahead of a planned auction tomorrow.

Ivory plaque

British Museum accepts 550-piece collection of ivory works of art ahead of UK trade ban

28 June 2018

A vast collection of ivories from The Sir Victor Sassoon Chinese Ivories Trust will be going on display at the British Museum after it acquired the collection earlier this year.

Queen Victoria by Alfred Gilbert at the Fitzwilliam Museum

Fitzwilliam Museum raises £1m to secure Queen Victoria sculpture

21 June 2018

The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge has acquired a marble sculpture of Queen Victoria by Sir Alfred Gilbert (1854-1934) after raising the required £1.01m to prevent it from export.

Singer Sargent

Bowled over by Singer Sargent - National Trust secures painting of Ightham Mote

11 June 2018

In 1889, the artist John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) visited the 14th century manor house Ightham Mote in Kent and painted a picture of its occupants playing a game of bowls.

‘A Game of Bowls’ by John Singer Sargent

Sotheby’s brokers sale of John Singer Sargent painting to National Trust

06 June 2018

A painting of a game of bowls by John Singer Sargent previously in the collection of the late A Alfred Taubman has sold to the National Trust’s Ightham Mote, the manor house in Kent depicted in the picture.

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Dealer Katz sells bronze sculptures to the Getty

04 June 2018

London dealer Daniel Katz has sold two bronze sculptures to the J Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, one by Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) and the other by Rodin’s assistant, model and lover Camille Claudel (1864-1943).

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Art Fund celebrates record year as it seeks to boost annual giving to £10m

31 May 2018

A record-breaking year for Art Fund, including the purchase of £5.5m of art, is a ‘step in the right direction’ as the national charity seeks to increase its annual grant giving to £10m.

Ancient Greek vases bought by the Louvre

Louvre acquires ancient Greek vases excavated by Napoleon’s brother at auction

29 May 2018

Two Attic black figure vases that formerly belonged to Lucien Bonaparte, the younger brother of Napoleon, were acquired by the Louvre from an auction held at Drouot in Paris by Pierre Bergé et Associés (PBA).

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“Scotland’s photo album” saved for the nation at a price of £1m

17 May 2018

A collection of photographs capturing a century of Scottish history has been saved for the nation at a price tag of £1m.

Julia Margaret Cameron, Pomona, 1887, Albumen print, © The RPS Collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.jpg

Fresh details and opening date announced as V&A Photography Centre clicks into action

07 May 2018

More details and a launch date have emerged for the Victoria and Albert Museum’s new Photography Centre.

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Ottawa museum buys Canadian VC group

07 May 2018

One of the finest Victoria Cross medals awarded to a Canadian recipient will be staying in Canada thanks to a successf ul fundraising campaign.

Juan de Zurbaran still life

Sotheby’s brokers sale of rare Juan de Zurbarán still life to National Gallery

27 April 2018

Sotheby’s has negotiated the private sale of a still life by Juan de Zurbarán (1620-1649) to the National Gallery, London.

RA

Shortlist announced for London Original Print Fair museums’ acquisitions prize

24 April 2018

The London Original Print Fair (LOPF) has shortlisted five institutions for this year’s acquisition award. The successful entrant will win £8000 to spend at the fair which takes place at the Royal Academy of Arts on May 3-6.

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London dealer sells Van Gogh still-life to Dutch museum

18 April 2018

Connaught Brown has sold a still-life by Vincent van Gogh (1853-90) to the Noordbrabants Museum in the Netherlands.

Victoria and Albert Museum wall hanging

V&A Museum buys large embroidery made for Louis XIV’s mistress at Brussels fair

03 April 2018

The Victoria & Albert Museum has purchased a rare 17th century wall hanging from the Belgian restorer and weaver De Wit Fine Tapestries.

Gosvenor Museum

Charitable trust buys French rococo chairs for Chester museum collection

27 March 2018

A charitable trust has bought two pairs of 18th century French chairs from National Galleries of Scotland for a museum in Chester.

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National Portrait Gallery seeks help from trade to grow collection

26 March 2018

The UK's National Portrait Gallery (NPG) has funding in place for vernacular portraits ‘owned by ordinary people’. It is calling on the trade to help it acquire works for a new exhibition centred on identity before the era of painted portraiture.

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