Dukes have negotiated the sale to the nation of two major Pre-Raphaelite paintings. Music by Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones and Hamlet and Ophelia by Dante Gabriel Rossetti were found in the Oxfordshire home of the late Jean Preston that also yielded two panels from the San Marco altarpiece by Fra Angelico sold by the Dorchester auctioneers last year for £1.7m.
The paintings, valued together at a seven-figure sum, have been accepted in lieu of
inheritance tax and it is hoped they will go on display at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.
Music by Burne-Jones, found hanging above an electric fire in the tiny sitting room of a modern two-bedroom terraced house, was commissioned by the artist's most important patron, William Graham. It entered the collection of Kerrison Preston of Bournemouth (the late owner's father) following its sale at Christie's in 1934 for £147. Lord Lloyd-Webber acquired another version of the composition at Christie's in 1997 for £450,000.
The watercolour by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, pictured here, hung in Jean Preston's kitchen in its original frame and mount. It was commissioned from the artist by A.T. Squarey, a Merseyside lawyer and art collector in 1865 at a cost of 100 guineas.