Private masterpieces: 25 paintings in British collections.
APOLLO has set out to record the most important paintings in private UK ownership. These are the works that should be acquired by public galleries if they ever came onto the market. It would be a great loss to Britain's heritage for any of the 25 on this list to leave the country. The list represents an updated interpretation of the 'Paramount List', a system used by the government between the two world wars, which is described in detail on pages 35-39. At the time, the Treasury promised to 'support' the National Gallery, London, in trying to acquire any of the Paramount pictures that came up for sale. The scheme fell into abeyance in the 1950s. Last October, the former Arts Minister Lord Howarth revived the idea. Addressing the House of Lords, he spoke of the problem of 'that very small number of supreme works of art', proposing 'a modern version of the Paramount List'. (1) Although his proposal has its pros and cons, the exercise of selecting the country's greatest privately-owned pictures makes it easier to focus on how a revived Paramount scheme might work.
We have restricted our list to 25 works of art, with a cut-off date of 1900. Three works are pairs, and one is the Duke of Sutherland's set of Poussin's Seven Sacraments (Fig. 8), so the list comprises 34 paintings in total. Works on paper, sculpture, furniture or antiquities have not been considered. Paramount lists of them could be compiled, but there would be much less consensus about what should be on them. Even with great paintings, where there is a wider measure of agreement, any such list compiled by an individual is subjective, and even one formulated by an official committee would reflect biases. It cannot be disputed, however, that all the 25 works on this list are supremely important and would be extremely worthy additions to UK public collections.
Artistic importance was the primary criterion for inclusion, although historic significance and the extent to which an artist is represented in national collections were also considered. Financial value was not a factor. The cut-off date of 1900 was chosen because it would be much more difficult to compile a list of privately-owned later masterpieces. Their owners are often secretive, and modern pictures change hands frequently, making it hard to determine what is in the UK. With modern art, it is also more difficult to determine with certainty which works are of the first importance.
The list is presented broadly chronologically (not by importance), and this highlights the traditional taste of British collectors. There are few important 14th- or 15th-century masterpieces in private hands. The only one to make this list is Petrus Christus's Edward Grimston (Fig. 1), painted while the sitter was visiting Bruges in 1446, which has passed by family descent to the present day.
Once we reach the 16th century, important European pictures are well represented. Certain artists had a special appeal for British collectors, notably Titian, Poussin and Claude. Continental artists also worked in England, such as Rubens, Van Dyck and Canaletto. In considering these six artists, one is spoiled for choice when compiling such a list. For Canaletto, for example, the Duke of Richmond's pendants (Fig. 19) and Lord Lloyd Webber's masterpiece (Fig. 20) have been selected. But there are many other fine pictures from Canaletto's English period in private hands, including the Duke of Buccleuch's Whitehall and the Privy Garden and the outstanding collection of the Duke of Northumberland. There are also magnificent Venetian views owned by the Marquess of Tavistock and the Duke of Devonshire.
Reflecting the late development of painting in the UK, British art enters the list only with Hogarth, Reynolds, Gainsborough and Stubbs. Although all are very well represented in public collections, some of their finest pictures still remain in private hands. Constable and Turner are the major 19th-century masters. Turner is not on our list for the simple reason that so much of his work is already in the Tate, thanks to his bequest of nearly 300 paintings (and 30,000 works on paper). (2)
When we come to 19th-century European paintings, the absence of French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works in OK private collections is striking. The few major collectors were mainly active in the inter-war years, and their pictures have either gone to public galleries or been dispersed. They include Gwendoline and Margaret Davies (bequests to the National Museum of Wales), Frank Stoop (bequest to Tate), Samuel Courtauld (gifts and bequest to the Courtauld Gallery) and Sir Alfred Chester and Edith Beatty (dispersed). The only late-19th-century picture on the list is Pissarro's Cezanne, owned by Graff Diamonds (Fig. 25). Dating from 1874, before Impressionism had reached its height, it is important as a depiction of a fellow artist. This is the only picture on our list that is not in an aristocratic collection, and the sole example of a work to arrive in Britain in the 20th century.
Of the 25 works, 10 are on long-term loan to UK public collections (five to the National Gallery, London, four to the National Gallery of Scotland and one to Tate). Six are in country houses open to the public. Three are normally inaccessible, although occasionally they are lent to temporary exhibitions. Of the remaining six, two are accessible by appointment, two are regularly on loan to ilk public galleries, one is on loan to the National Gallery of Ireland, and one (Fig. 2) has been stolen. This means that 21 of the 25 works can normally be seen in the OK and Ireland for at least part of the year, a remarkably high proportion.
The most important group of privately-owned pictures belongs to the Duke of Sutherland, who has lent them to the National Gallery of Scotland. The withdrawal of any of these from the Edinburgh gallery would be a major loss. It is noticeable that none of the 25 works is on loan to regional galleries and any which end up in public ownership are likely to go the national collections. It would be virtually impossible for any regional gallery to be able to raise the necessary funds to buy one of the pictures.
If circumstances forced owners to sell any of these 25 pictures, they should certainly go to a public gallery, but the crucial question is, could those galleries afford to buy them? The total value of all these pictures on the open market is impossible to calculate, but few would dispute that together they would amount to around a billion pounds.
The original Paramount List dates back to 1922, when the Treasury agreed that it would assist the National Gallery, London, in acquiring key masterpieces, if they were ever sold by their UK private owners. Although full funding was not guaranteed, the government did undertake to support acquisitions with special Exchequer grants. The scheme applied to the National Gallery only, not to other UK public collections. The Paramount List was a highly secret document, kept in the safe of the Accountant at the Treasury. The original 1922 list comprised seven great masterpieces. (3) There were no fewer than four works by Titian: Diana and Actaeon (valued at 160,000 [pounds sterling]) and The Three Ages of Man (60,000 [pounds sterling]), owned by Lord Ellesmere (later Duke of Sutherland); The Vendramin Family (then known as The Cornaro Family; 60,000 [pounds sterling]), owned by the Duke of Northumberland; and Portrait of a Man (50,000 [pounds sterling]), owned by the Earl of Halifax. The other three works were the Earl of Pembroke's Wilton Diptych (30,000 [pounds sterling]), the Duke of Devonshire's Donne Triptych by Memling (60,000 [pounds sterling]) and Lord Spencer's Portrait of Henry VIII by Holbein (40,000 [pounds sterling]). Their total value was 460,000 [pounds sterling]. The list was revised in 1927 and, for the last time, in 1930. (4) The 1930 list included three works on the original list: Titian's Diana and Actaeon (then 150,000 [pounds sterling]) and The Three Ages of Man (100,000 [pounds sterling]) and the Memling (100,000 [pounds sterling]). There were three other additions: Sir Frederick Cook's Three Maries by Van Eyck (100,000 [pounds sterling]), Lady Lucas's The Balbi Children by Van Dyck (60,000 [pounds sterling]) and Lord Radnor's Juan de Pareja by Velazquez (80,000 [pounds sterling]).
By the eve of World War 11 four works on the Paramount List had already changed hands: Lord Iveagh's Self-portrait by Rembrandt (which had been on the 1927 list) was bequeathed for display in Kenwood House in 1927, Titian's Vendramin Family and The Wilton Diptych were bought by the National Gallery in 1929, and the Holbein was sold abroad to Baron Thyssen in 1934. Three Paramount paintings were subsequently acquired by the National Gallery, London: Lord Rothschild's The Morning Walk by Gainsborough (on the 1927 list) in 1954, the Memling in 1957 and the Van Dyck in 1985. Two were placed on long-term loan with the National Gallery of Scotland (Titian's Diana and Actaeon and The Three Ages of Man in 1945). Two others went abroad (the Van Eyck was sold in 1940 to D.G. van Beuningen and in 1958 it passed to the Boijmans van Beuningen Museum, Rotterdam; in 1970 the Velazquez was sold to the Metropolitan Museum, New York).
The Paramount system began to fall into abeyance after the war, and in 1953 the Treasury ended its obligation to assist with acquisitions. However, in 1971, with the threatened sale of the Earl of Harewood's Death of Actaeon to the Getty Museum, the question of 'saving art for the nation' went back on the political agenda. It was then that Denys Sutton, editor of APOLLO, interested prime minister Edward Heath in reviving the list. On 14 July 1971 he sent Heath his own personal list of 25 paintings that he regarded as of supreme importance. (5) Heath was initially receptive, and told the National Art-Collections Fund that 'in the longer term the right answer might be to produce a list of masterpieces which ought to remain in this country so that the problem could be assessed more accurately'. (6) As part of the government rethink, the Standing Commission on Museums & Galleries (a precursor of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council) was asked to draw up a possible new Paramount List. It sought the views of the major national art museums, with the idea of extending the list to other institutions." The Commission sent their recommendations to Heath on 12 February 1973. Although many of the works were also on the Sutton list, it was slightly longer, comprising 26 works (including three pairs), and the six Sutherland pictures.
Ultimately, Heath decided that the Paramount system was not a good idea--partly because it would involve Treasury expenditure. He told a group of top museum chairmen and directors: 'The galleries would recognise that the government could not enter into any commitment; but they could rest assured that, when listed treasures came on to the market, the government would do its best to help.' (8) According to prime ministerial papers released in January 2007, in 1976 James Callaghan reiterated that these 1973 lists should remain a state secret: 'no reference should be made to the existence of any of the lists'. (9)
And what do the major public galleries now feel about the Paramount system? The director of Tate, Sir Nicholas Serota, admits to reservations: 'If the list is going to be accompanied by an undertaking from government that the works will not be allowed to slip out of the country, then the list will be so small that it won't be a very effective tool in protecting the wider heritage.' Any Paramount List would also freeze taste and he argues that 'the whole canon' has changed since the inter-war period. The Tate does have a desiderata list, which is updated roughly every five years. It mainly covers British paintings, together with some 20th-century international works in UK private collections. There are just over 100 works in the latest list, approved by the trustees in July 2004, but it remains confidential.
Charles Saumarez Smith, director of the National Gallery, London, is more positive, saying that he regards it as 'an entirely legitimate idea', since the great works can be identified, at least until around 1800 (after that, he says, it becomes more difficult). Pointing out that government often works by precedent, he says that 'if there was a way of opening discussions for a new concordat [for a revised Paramount List], then I would be very sympathetic'. But Dr Saumarez Smith admits that there are difficulties, and tying a gallery to a strict list has its drawbacks: 'acquisition policy can be very procedural, or more reactive, and in reality it is a combination of the two'. When asked if the National Gallery keeps a list of desiderata, Dr Saumarez Smith is coy, responding that this issue is currently 'a topic of discussion within the gallery'. (10)
UK national collections find it extremely difficult to buy the really expensive paintings. Two years ago, the National Gallery, London, was trying to raise 22m [pounds sterling] for the Duke of Northumberland's Madonna of the Pinks by Raphael (with tax advantages, the Duke would have received the equivalent of 35m [pounds sterling]). The Heritage Lottery Fund eventually provided 11.5m [pounds sterling] towards the purchase, and without this support, the picture would have gone to the J. Paul Getty Museum, to whom the Duke had sold it. However, the HLF made it clear that only very rarely would it be able to assist with the purchase of such expensive works; in such cases the National Heritage Memorial Fund is expected to act as a fund of last resort, although its resources are limited (its annual government grant will rise to 10m [pounds sterling] in April).
Meanwhile, one picture on the original 1922 Paramount List is now under threat. The Earl of Halifax has announced that he intends to sell Titian's Portrait of a Man. We can reveal that it is now with London dealer Simon Dickinson. In the 1922 list it was valued at 50,000 [pounds sterling], but the Earl recently turned down an offer from the National Gallery, London, and the National Gallery of Scotland that would have been worth over 50m [pounds sterling]. (11)
1 EDWARD GRIMSTON BY PETRUS CHRISTUS (C. 1410-75/76), 1446. Oil on panel, 33 x 24 cm. The Earl of Verulam. [c] National Gallery, London (on loan) UK/ The Bridgeman Art Library
Edward Grimston of Rishangles, Suffolk, was Henry VI's envoy to France and Burgundy. This is the earliest surviving oil portrait of a British sitter. Ownership has passed by family descent. It has been on loan to the National Gallery, London, since 1927 (the second-longest loan to the collection).
2 MADONNA OF THE YARNWINDER BY LEONARDO DA VINCI (1452-1519), 1501. Oil on panel, 48 x 37 an. The Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry
Acquired in 1756 by George (or his son John) Montagu, the painting has passed by descent. Its attribunon to Leonardo was contested for most of the 20th century, but was accepted by Professor Martin Kemp in 1992. The painting was on public view at Drumlanrig Castle, Dumfriesshire. It was stolen on 27 August 2003 and has not been recovered. Scotland Yard values it at 40m [pounds sterling].
3 THE BRIDGEWATER MADONNA BY RAPHAEL (1483-1520), C. 1507-1508. Oil on canvas (transferred from panel), 82 x 57 cm. The Duke of Sutherland. Photo: The National Galleries of Scotland
This painting, which was bought by the 2nd Marquess of Stafford in 1798, is part of the group of Sutherland pictures on loan to the National Gallery of Scotland since 1945. It includes another Raphael, The Holy Family, with a Palm Tree.
4 ERASMUS BY HANS HOLBEIN (C. 1497-1543), 1523. Oil and tempera on panel, 76 x 51 cm. The Earl of Radnor. [c] Private Collection/The Bridgeman Art Library
The portrait, which had been given by Holbein to his English patron William Warham, was acquired by the 1st Viscount Folkestone in the 18th century and has passed by descent. On long-term loan to the National Gallery, London, since 1995, it was in 'Holbein in England' at Tate Britain (28 September 2006-7 January).
5 PORTRAIT OF A MAN BY TITIAN (C. 1485/90-1576), c. 1515/20. Oil on canvas, 93 x 71 cm. The Earl of Halifax
Acquired in the 18th century by the 7th Viscount Irwin, and displayed for 150 years at Temple Newsam, Yorkshire, the painting has passed by descent. It was on loan to the National Gallery, London, from 1992 to 2005, when Lord Halifax announced his decision to sell the work. The National Gallery and the National Gallery of Scotland offered the equivalent of around 55m [pounds sterling] (including tax concessions), but this was rejected and the picture is currently on the market.
6 DIANA AND ACTAEON (illustrated) AND DIANA AND CALLISTO BY TITIAN (c. 1485/90-1576), 1559. Oil on canvas, 185 x 202 cm and 187 x 205 cm. The Duke of Sutherland. Photo: The National Galleries of Scotland
Bought by the Duke of Bridgewater in 1798, this pair of Titians has passed by descent. They are part of the group of Sutherland pictures on loan to the National Gallery of Scotland since 1945, which includes a third Titian, The Three Ages of Man. A fourth, Venus Rising from the Waves, was acquired by the NGS in 2003 (for a cash and acceptance-in-lieu element worth 14m [pounds sterling], and an undisclosed tax douceur).
7 SKETCHES FOR THE WHITEHALL CEILING BY PETER PAUL RUBENS (1577-1640), c. 1629-30. Oil on panel, 95 x 63 cm. Viscount Hampden
The oil sketches, set around The Apotheosis of King James I, were for the ceiling of the Banqueting House, Whitehall. Acquired in the late 18th century by 2nd Viscount Hampden, they have passed by descent and have been on loan to the National Gallery, London, since 1981.
8 THE SEVEN SACRAMENTS BY NICOLAS POUSSIN (1594-1665), 1644-48 (illustrated: The Sacrament of Ordination). Oil on canvas, each 117 x 178 cm. The Duke of Sutherland. Photo: The National Galleries of Scotland
Poussin's second, and most important, set of The Seven Sacraments was bought by the Duke of Bridgewater in 1798 and has passed by descent. It is part of the group of Sutherland pictures on loan to the National Gallery of Scotland since 1945. Five canvases from an earlier set of The Seven Sacraments have been loaned by the Duke of Rutland to the National Gallery, London; it is rumoured that he is considering a sale.
9 SELF-PORTRAIT WITH A SUNFLOWER BY ANTHONY VAN DYCK (1599-1641), c. 1632-33. Oil on canvas, 61 x 73 cm. The Duke of Westminster. [c] Private Collection/ Bridgeman Art Library
The painting was in the collection of the Dukes of Westminster by the 19th century. It is not on public view.
10 GEORGE, LORD DIGBY, AND WILLIAM, LORD RUSSELL BY ANTHONY VAN DYCK (1599-1641), c. 1637. Oil on canvas, 250 x 157 cm. Earl Spencer. The Collection at Althorp
Commissioned by Lord Digby (later Earl of Bristol), the portrait has passed by descent. It is on view to the public at Althorp Park, Northamptonshire.
11 ET IN ARCADIA EGO BY NICOLAS POUSSIN (1594-1665) c. 1628-29. Oil on canvas, 101 x 82 cm. The Trustees of the Chatsworth Settlement. [c] Chatsworth House, Derbyshire, OK/Peter Willi/ The Bridgeman Art Library
First recorded in the collection of the 4th Duke of Devonshire in 1761, the painting has remained in the family and can be seen by appointment at Chatsworth House, Derbyshire. Among the paintings by Poussin in private hands in the UK is another celebrated masterpiece, Landscape with the Funeral of Phocion (1648), owned by the Earl of Plymouth and on long-term loan to the National Museum of Wales.
12 PHILIP HERBERT, 4TH EARL OF PEMBROKE, AND HIS FAMILY BY ANTHONY VAN DYCK (1599-1641), c. 1635. Oil on canvas, 330 x 510 cm. The Earl of Pembroke. [c] Collection of the Earl of Pembroke, Wilton House, Wilts./ The Bridgeman Art Library
Commissioned by the 4th Earl of Pembroke, this vast canvas was moved to Wilton House, Wiltshire, in 1653, and still hangs in the Double Cube Room, which was specially designed to display the painting and other Van Dycks. It is on view to the public there.
13 A PASTORAL LANDSCAPE: MORNING AND A PASTORAL CAPRICCIO WITH THE ARCH OF CONSTANTINE AND THE COLOSSEUM: EVENING (illustrated) BY CLAUDE GELEE, CALLED CLAUDE LORRAIN (1604/1605?-82), 1651. Oil on canvas, both 99 x 145 cm. The Duke of Westminster. [c] Private Collection/ The Bridgeman Art Library
This pair of landscapes was acquired by the 2nd Earl Grosvenor in 1806, and has since passed by descent. Like other Grosvenor pictures (Figs. 9 and 21), it is not accessible to the public.
14 THE ORIGIN OF CORAL BY CLAUDE GELEE, CALLED CLAUDE LORRAIN (1604/1605?-82), 1674. Oil on canvas, 100 x 127 cm. The Earl of Leicester. [c] Collection of the Earl of Leicester, Holkham Hall, Norfolk/The Bridgeman Art Library
Acquired by the 1st Earl of Leicester in the 18th century, this painting is on public view with other Claude masterpieces in the Landscape Room at Holkham Hall, Norfolk. Claude was very popular with British patrons; among other important examples of his work in private collections are Morning and Evening in the Marquess of Bute's collection at Mount Stuart, Isle of Bute, which are accessible by appointment.
15 JUDAS AND THE THIRTY PIECES OF SILVER BY REMBRANDT VAN RIJN (1606-69), 1629. Oil on panel, 79 x 102 cm. The Marchioness of Normanby
Although this early masterpiece was highly praised by Constantijn Huygens when he saw it in Rembrandt's studio, by the early 20th century it had been reattributed to Ferdinand Bol. Its attribution to Rembrandt was confirmed in 1939 and has never since been disputed.
The painting was acquired in 1776 by the 1st Earl of Charlemont and hung in his house in Dublin. In 1874 it was sold by his descendants to the 1st Earl of Iveagh and has since passed by descent. It has come on loan to the National Gallery, London, for a two-month period every October-December since 2002.
16 AN OLD WOMAN READING BY REMBRANDT VAN RIJN (1606-69), 1655. Oil on canvas, 83 x 70 cm. The Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry. [c] Private Collection/The Bridgeman Art Library
Owned by John Montagu by 1770, this canvas has since passed by descent. It is on view at Drumlanrig Castle, Dumfriesshire.
17 SELF-PORTRAIT BY REMBRANDT VAN RIJN (1606-69), 1657. Oil on canvas, 54 x 44 cm. The Duke of Sutherland. Photo: The National Galleries of Scotland
Acquired by the 3rd Duke of Bridgewater in 1802, this is part of the group of Sutherland pictures on loan to the National Gallery of Scotland since 1945.
18 THE CHOLMONDELEY FAMILY BY WILLIAM HOGARTH (1697-1764), 1732. Oil on canvas, 71 x 91 cm. The Marquess of Cholmondeley. [c] Private Collection/The Bridgeman Art Library
This famously informal family group was commissioned by George Cholmondeley, Viscount Malpas (who is depicted seated in a blue coat), and has since passed by descent. It is on view to the public at Houghton Hall, Norfolk, which Lord Malpas's eldest son, the 1st Marquess of Cholmondeley, inherited from Horace Walpole in 1797.
19 LONDON: THE THAMES AND THE CITY FROM RICHMOND HOUSE AND LONDON: WHITEHALL AND THE PRIVY GARDEN FROM RICHMOND HOUSE (illustrated) BY GIOVANNI ANTONIO CANAL, CALLED CANALETTO (1697-1768), c. 1747. Oil on canvas, each 106 x 117 cm. The Trustees of the Goodwood Collection
This pair of paintings was commissioned by the Duke of Richmond in 1747 for the Long Hall, Goodwood, Sussex. They remain in their original locations, and are on view to the public there. Although Canaletto is represented in British public collections, Tate owns no work from his English period.
20 THE OLD HORSE GUARDS FROM ST JAMES'S PARK BY GIOVANNI ANTONIO CANAL, CALLED CANALETTO (1697-1768), 1749. Oil on canvas, 117 x 236 cm. Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber Art Foundation
Acquired by the Earl of Radnor by 1756, the painting passed by descent until sold at Christie's in 1992 to Andrew Lloyd Webber.
21 THE GROSVENOR HUNT BY GEORGE STUBBS (1724-1806), 1762. Oil on canvas, 149 x 241 an. The Duke of Westminster. [c] Private Collection/The Bridgeman Art Library
Commissioned by the 1st Baron Grosvenor, the painting has passed by descent. It is not accessible to the public, but in 2006 was loaned to the Walker Art Gallery's Stubbs exhibition.
22 OMAI BY JOSHUA REYNOLDS (1723-92), c. 1776. Oil on canvas, 236 x 146 cm. John Magnier
This famous depiction of a young Tahitian prince was acquired by the 5th Earl of Carlisle by 1796, and was at Castle Howard, Yorkshire, until its sale at Sotheby's in 2001. It was bought by an anonymous collector, who was later identified as the Dublin businessman and horsebreeder John Magnier (or his family).
Magnier applied for an export licence, which was deferred; Tate then found a donor wilting to provide the 12.5m [pounds sterling] to make a matching offer. Magnier refused to sell, retaining the picture in the UK. In 2005 he lent it to an exhibition at Tate Britain, 'Joshua Reynolds: The Creation of Celebrity'.
Since 2005 Omai has been on a six-year loan to the National Gallery of Ireland on a temporary export permit. The long-term future of this masterpiece of British portraiture is uncertain.
23 THE REVEREND SIR HENRY BATE, BT, BY THOMAS GAINSBOROUGH (1727-88), c. 1780. Oil on canvas, 224 x 150 cm. Lord Burton (Trustees of the Bate-Dudleys). [c] Tate
Commissioned by the sitter, this full-length portrait, with its pendant (painted seven years later), of Bate's wife, Mary, has passed by descent. They have been on loan to Tate Britain since 1989. The Tam owns another depiction of Bate by Gainsborough, a comparatively modest head-and-shoulders painted at about the same time as this masterpiece.
The sitter was a close friend of Gainsborough. As well as being a clergyman, he was editor of two newspapers, and secured good reviews for Gainsborough's works when they were shown at the Royal Academy.
24 SALISBURY CATHEDRAL FROM THE MEADOWS BY JOHN CONSTABLE (1776-1837), 1831. Oil on canvas, 152 x 190 cm. Lord Ashton
Acquired by Samuel Ashton in 1850, this painting, which has passed by descent, has been on loan to the National Gallery, London, since 1983. The culmination of Constable's depictions of the cathedral, it was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1831, although the artist continued working on it for several years. The painting is in the exhibition 'Constable: The Great Landscapes' that was shown in London and Washington and is currently at the Huntington Library, San Marino (until 29 April).
25 CEZANNE BY CAMILLE PISSARRO (1830-1903), c. 1874. Oil on canvas, 73 x 60 cm. Graft Diamonds
In 1978 the portrait was bought by the British Rail Pension Fund, which sold it at Sotheby's in 1989. It was bought (for what now seems a relatively modest 1.3m [pounds sterling]) by Laurence Graff, the Bond Street diamond retailer. It has been on loan from Graff Diamonds to the National Gallery, London, since 1996.
(1) Hansard, 30 October 2006, column GC34-5.
(2) Although Tate is currently trying to acquire a watercolour, The Blue Rigi (an export licence has been deferred until 20 March), it only rarely buys major Turner works.
(3) Treasury file T218/8, National Archives. In his new book, The Nation's Mantelpiece: A History of the National Gallery, London, 2006, p. 361, Jonathan Conlin cites the 1927 fist, although stating it to be for 1922. He also incorrectly lists Titian's An Allegory of Prudence, whereas the Paramount work was The Three Ages of Man.
(4) Treasury files T218/8 and T227/3899, National Archives.
(5) Nothing was published in APOLLO, and this was Sutton's personal initiative. See The Art Newspaper, February 2004, p. 9 (based on documents released at the National Archives). Our new list can be regarded as an updated version of Sutton's. Since 1971, 10 of Sutton's pictures have since been acquired by public collections (or the National Trust). Two have gone abroad. Sutton counted the pair of Claudes as two works. We dropped three works from Sutton's list: Rembrandt's Portrait of Catrina Hooghsaet (Lad), Janet Pennant), Canaletto's Whitehall and the Privy Garden (the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry) and Botticelli's A Medici Portrait (Merton family, on loan to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC), which is no longer attributed to Botticelli).
(6) The Art Newspaper, April 2003, pp. 8-9 (based on documents released at the National Archives).
(7) The following submitted fists of works for consideration: the National Gallery, Tate, Victoria and Albert Museum, British Museum, National Galleries of Scotland and National Museum of Scotland. Surprisingly; the National Portrait Gallery was not included. The final list was sent to Heath on 12 February 1973 by Lord Rosse (PREM 15/1296, National Archives).
(8) Note of meeting held at 10 Downing St, 5 April 1973 (PREM 15/1296, National Archives). Although it does not deal with the Paramount List, the best single source of information on art treasures in private British collections (although now rather dated) is Gervase Jackson-Stops (ed.), The Treasure Houses of Britain, exh. cat., National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, 1985-86.
(9) Letter from James Callaghan to the Earl of Rosse, 9 July 1976 (PREM 17/745, National Archives).
(10) Interviews with Scrota and Saumarez Smith, 19 December 2006.
(11) The Art Newspaper, September 2005, p. 11.
Martin Bailey is a correspondent of The Art Newspaper.
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|Date:||Feb 1, 2007|
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