The Herald in Scotland reports on the possible sale of 27 Old Master paintings from the Duke of Sutherland’s Bridgewater collection that have been on loan to the National Galleries of Scotland. The pictures might be worth £1 billion on the open market. The Duke wants £100 million for two of the pictures to leave the others on loan for an additional 21 years.
Gallery director Nicholas Perry says: “As it stands, there is no country the size of Scotland that has a greater collection of art. The NGS is great because it has that group of masterpieces. Its loss would be a disaster for Scotland and the United Kingdom.”
A spokesman for the duke said: “The Bridgewater Collection has grown in value to the point where it is prudent to review the holding in terms of the balance of the family’s overall assets. It does now seem sensible to consider the sale of some part of this collection, and the duke and his family would very much hope that it could be acquired by the nation.”
The BBC has a Q & A on the subject including these helpful points:
NGS director general John Leighton said losing Diana and Actaeon would be like France having to give up the Mona Lisa. “I think it would be hard to exaggerate the misfortune it would be. In our terms it would be like the Mona Lisa being taking out of the Louvre, or the Uffizi gallery in Florence losing its Botticellis,” he told the BBC.
On the history of the Bridgewater collection:
It was formed by Francis Egerton, the third and last Duke of Bridgewater, and most of the paintings were acquired following the dispersal of the Orleans Collection after the French Revolution in 1792. The Titians were purchased in 1798.
Visitors were able to see them in a London townhouse on certain days from as early as 1806 – placing them among the first privately owned Old Master paintings to be made accessible to the public in Britain.
£100m Race to Keep Old Masters in National Gallery (The Herald)
Q & A: Titian Paintings (BBC)