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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‘Bigger and better’ Liotard portrait sold to German museum

26 March 2018

A private museum in south-west Germany has bought a portrait by Swiss artist Jean- Etienne Liotard (1702-89) from London Old Master dealer Derek Johns.

Abbey

Westminster Abbey pictures by artist Alexander Creswell bought by dean for new exhibition

17 March 2018

Westminster Abbey is to unveil a series of watercolours after the Dean and Chapter of Westminster purchased a group of 35 pictures from artist Alexander Creswell.

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Brunel Museum to use Thames Tunnel archive bought at Bonhams as centrepiece of its expansion plans

26 February 2018

A fascinating archive of designs for Brunel’s Thames Tunnel sold at Bonhams was bought by a museum dedicated to the pioneering structure to form the centrepiece of a £4.5m expansion, it has been revealed.

Teapot

The story behind the Met’s epic £460,000 auction battle for ‘America’s first china teapot’

26 February 2018

A hitherto unrecorded teapot attributed to a pioneering North American porcelain factory sold last week for a remarkable £460,000 (plus premium) at Woolley & Wallis in Salisbury.

Book of Hours

Louvre secures funding from 8500 donors to buy £8m Book of Hours once owned by Francis I of France

20 February 2018

The Louvre Museum in Paris has raised more than £8m to buy a jewel-encrusted Book of Hours.

V&A

Museum acquisitions under threat from lack of funding report warns

16 February 2018

Museums in the UK have been selling off their collections and have been unable to buy new works of art due to funding issues, a “deeply depressing” report has revealed.

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2016-17 museum donations rise in boost for inheritance tax scheme

15 January 2018

Donations to museums via inheritance tax schemes grew 22% in the past year, according to the latest Arts Council annual report.

Waterfall

Waterfall drawing discovered by art critic Brian Sewell saved for the nation by British Museum

04 January 2018

The British Museum has saved for the nation an 18th century drawing by Austrian Romantic artist Joseph Anton Koch (1768-1839) after it was sold at auction from the estate of art critic Brian Sewell.

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Hairy portrait bought by institution

02 January 2018

A 17th century portrait of a woman who suffered from a rare congenital condition resulting in excessive hair growth on the body has been acquired by the Wellcome Collection.

Barbara van Beck

Dealers sell rare portrait of bearded woman to Wellcome Collection

31 December 2017

London dealers Agnews and Rafael Valls have jointly sold a 17th century portrait of a woman who suffered from a rare congenital condition to the Wellcome Collection.

Leekfrith

Iron Age gold torcs head to Stoke museum after fundraising target reached

19 December 2017

A collection of Iron Age gold jewellery is to go on display at Stoke-on-Trent’s Potteries Museum & Art Gallery after fundraising hit the £325,000 target.

Cannons

Cannons from a 17th century English warship return to UK for Southend museum

15 December 2017

Recovered from a US buyer, three historic cannons are returning to Southend for a new exhibition.

 Adriaen Coorte still life

Works from ex-TEFAF President’s collection head to the National Gallery

15 December 2017

Four Old Master paintings from the collection of the late president of TEFAF, Willem Baron van Dedem, have been donated to the National Gallery.

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Miner turned vet then art historian comes to Winchester exhibition

13 December 2017

In covering art and antiques, it is easy to overlook the role of the collector in among the people who created objects in the first place, and of course the dealers and auctioneers who sell them. But one collector, the late David Brown, is the subject of a show coming up in Winchester.

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China Dogs in a St Ives Window painting by Christopher Wood bought by Pallant House Gallery

07 December 2017

Pallant House Gallery in Chichester has now permanently acquired the painting 'China Dogs in a St Ives Window' by Christopher Wood (1901-30) after a successful fundraising drive.

Winfarthing treasure

Boom in metal-detecting helps ‘treasure’ numbers hit a record

05 December 2017

A record amount of ‘treasure’ has been found in Britain’s fields and ditches by members of the public in the past year.

Wilton

V&A preserves a piece of music hall history with Wilton's archives

31 October 2017

The oldest surviving music hall in the world, Wilton's, has given its complete archive to the V&A, saving the history of its eclectic performing arts at the venue for posterity.

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Louvre aims to buy £8m Book of Hours

30 October 2017

The Louvre museum in Paris is hoping to raise more than £8m to buy a jewel-encrusted Book of Hours.

Tumbler

Chester’s Grosvenor Museum unveils 17th century silver tumbler after purchase by charitable trust

06 October 2017

A silver tumbler made by 17th century Chester silversmith Peter Pemberton has been bought by a trust to ensure it will stay on public display in its home town.

Tate Britain

Anthony Caro sculptures allocated to the Tate after settling £2.7m tax bill

02 October 2017

Two abstract sculptures by Sir Anthony Caro have been acquired for the nation as part of the ‘Acceptance in Lieu’ scheme. Together they have settled £2.7m of inheritance tax due from the estate of Caro’s wife, the artist Sheila Girling, who died in 2015.

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