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.


Gould drawing

English School double portrait and Gould watercolours are among the latest artworks to be saved by the nation

26 January 2023

Six artworks are set to be saved for the nation according to the latest Exports of Objects of Cultural Interest report.

Toussaint Louverture

Pick of the week: Haitian hero rides into the New York Met

23 January 2023

A drawing of Toussaint Louverture (c.1743-1803), a leader of the Haitian Revolution, has sold from London’s Nonesuch Gallery to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Volubilis sculpture

Art dealers Bowman sell sculpture to French museum

16 January 2023

The Camille Claudel Museum has unveiled its newly purchased Volubilis sculpture by Alfred Boucher.

Strawberry Hill House

Old Master paintings go on long term loan to boost Strawberry Hill House collection

11 January 2023

Strawberry Hill House has recreated the look of Horace Walpole’s art collection with loans of fifty Old Masters pictures.

Portrait by Ary de Vois

Dealer Van Haeften sells Dutch Golden Age portrait to museum

09 January 2023

A museum in the Netherlands has bought a Dutch Golden Age portrait from dealer Johnny Van Haeften.

The Nativity

Ulster Museum acquires 16th century Nativity scene

05 January 2023

An Italian Nativity scene has been saved for the nation after it was blocked from export by the government.

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Herschel museum buys manuscript memoir

02 January 2023

Two Herschel family-related historic items – a Royal Society King’s medal and a manuscript memoir – have changed hands at auction and in a private sale.

Murals

Piper and Bawden murals to the manor borne: Rothschild Foundation buys artworks for National Trust's Waddesdon

19 December 2022

Two large-scale murals by leading Modern British artists have been purchased by The Rothschild Foundation from dealer Liss Llewellyn.

Derby winning miniatures

Four Derby winners reunited after museum’s auction success

19 December 2022

A set of four miniature oil paintings depicting Derby-winning racehorses belonging to John Bowes (1811-85), co-founder of The Bowes Museum, has been reunited after being bought at auction.

Portrait of Algernon Moses Marsden

Tissot’s iconic portrait saved for the nation with funding from sitter’s descendants

08 December 2022

A portrait of art dealer Algernon Moses Marsden (1847–1920) by Jacques Joseph Tissot (1836–1902) has been purchased for the National Portrait Gallery and the National Gallery with funding from descendants of Marsden.

Paul Follot tea set

Rare Wedgwood Art Deco tea set and drawings by French designer Paul Follot bought by V&A

10 November 2022

A Wedgwood Art Deco tea and coffee set and the original design drawings by Paul Follot (1877-1941) have been bought by the Victoria and Albert Museum and put on display at the World of Wedgwood museum in Stoke-on-Trent.

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Portrait miniatures collecting can start small

07 November 2022

How can an enthusiast create a museum-quality collection without vast sums of money?

Ozengell Hoard

Anglo-Saxon hoard bought by Kent Archaeological Society ahead of London auction

27 October 2022

A large group of c.6-7th century Anglo-Saxon artefacts, known as the Ozengell Hoard, have been bought by Kent Archaeological Society.

Chinese jardiniere

Walpole’s cat-killing fish bowl returns to Strawberry Hill

24 October 2022

A Chinese jardiniere once used as a fish bowl by Horace Walpole (1717-97) is to return to his Strawberry Hill home.

Arent DePeyster

Pick of the week: American who fought against independence

17 October 2022

While many US museums display portraits of famous Patriots from the War of Independence, especially the likes of George Washington, Alexander Hamilton and Nathanael Greene, pictures of Loyalists are less common in their collections.

Jane Austin's Emma

Rare copy of Jane Austen’s Emma to go on display in the UK after US buyer agrees loan deal via book dealer

06 October 2022

A rare copy of Jane Austen’s Emma will go on display at Chawton House, the former home of the novelist’s brother, after an arrangement was agreed with the US buyer of the book and dealer Peter Harrington.

Manuscript

Bath astronomy museum to raise £108,000 to buy manuscript via Christie’s private sale

28 September 2022

The Herschel Museum of Astronomy in Bath has launched a fundraising campaign to buy a Caroline Herschel memoir.

Bethlem Museum Of The Mind 2

BADA Friends supports contemporary museum acquisition

16 August 2022

The Friends of the BADA has given £500 to support the Bethlem Museum of the Mind in the acquisition of a new work.

1616359 Inkstand, NTI James Dobson

National Trust snaps up Castlereagh’s silver inkstand ahead of exhibition

11 August 2022

The National Trust has acquired a silver inkstand used by Viscount Castlereagh (1769-1822), the Anglo-Irish politician and statesman.

Christ carrying the Cross

National Gallery acquires two paintings via government tax scheme

09 August 2022

Two Italian pictures have joined the National Gallery’s collection via the government’s inheritance tax scheme.

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