The work, William Wollaston and his Family in a Grand Interior, has been owned by the Wollaston family since it was painted for William Wollaston in 1730.
The Wollaston family have been residents of Leicestershire since 1652, in the family owned estate of Shenton Hall, which they still reside in today.
When the family decided to sell the painting they offered it to the nation at the reduced price of £1.47m in lieu of inheritance tax. The price was below the £3m valuation by Sotheby’s and the acceptance in lieu scheme arrangement meant HMRC accepted £903,672 in tax with the remaining £564,528 to come from fundraising.
The City of Leicester Museums Trust launched the Save the Hogarth Campaign to raise the money and received the amount from funds including the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Art Fund and the general public.
The Friends of Leicester & Leicestershire Museums, The Leicester Archaeological & Historical Society, The Leicester Literary & Philosophical Society and The Golden Bottle Foundation also played a part in the campaign. The full amount has now been raised and the picture will stay on the walls of the museum.
Edward Harley, chair of acceptance in lieu panel, said: “I would like to thank the Wollaston family for offering this wonderful picture to the nation. Hogarth is one of this country’s greatest artists and his conversation pieces such as this represent some of his most fascinating works. I hope that this example will encourage others to use the acceptance in lieu scheme, which continues to bolster museum and gallery holdings with cultural treasures.”
Stephen Deuchar, director of Art Fund, said: “This is such a great acquisition for Leicester - a real coup to have acquired a work of such landmark significance to both Hogarth’s career and the wider history of 18th century British art. We are delighted to have helped.”