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.

Lagrenee NG

Old Master painting from Brian Sewell collection donated to The National Gallery

19 November 2016

The National Gallery has received one of the paintings from the collection of the late art critic Brian Sewell.

Monarch of the Glen

Monarch of the Glen withdrawn from Christie’s auction as museum and owner make deal

17 November 2016

Edwin Landseer’s Monarch of the Glen has been withdrawn from auction at Christie’s following an agreement between the consignor and the National Galleries of Scotland to help the museum retain the iconic painting.

coins at Yorkshire

The Yorkshire Museum acquires second largest Roman coin hoard ever found

10 November 2016

The Yorkshire Museum has acquired the Wold Newton Hoard after receiving funds totalling £44,200.

Prince of Wales

Mason museum buys rare glass painting of Grand Master

09 November 2016

The Library and Museum of Freemasonry in London has revealed the latest addition to its collection.


Ashmolean Museum aims to save Anglo-Saxon hoard before it gets "broken up"

07 November 2016

The Ashmolean Museum has made a significant stride towards the retention of a Viking hoard with the receipt of a grant of more than £1.1m from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Duke of Wellington

National Portrait Gallery launches appeal to secure Lawrence portrait of Duke of Wellington

03 November 2016

The National Portrait Gallery today launched an appeal to finish raising the £1.3m necessary to secure Thomas Lawrence’s portrait of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington for its collection.

Musée d’Orsay receives pledge of private collection estimated at €350m

24 October 2016

A 600-work collection of late 19th and early 20th century French paintings worth an estimated €350m has been pledged to the Musee d’Orsay.

Richard Green US

Richard Green sells Old Master painting to US National Gallery of Art

20 October 2016

Richard Green has sold the Old Master oil painting "A Woman Feeding a Parrot" by Caspar Netscher to the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC.

St Luke Drawing the Virgin and Child is attributed to the workshop of Dieric Bouts the Elder

Recently rescued national treasure to go on public display

17 October 2016

An Old Master painting recently saved for the nation by the Bowes Museum is set to be showcased at a new exhibition held in the painting’s new home.

ATG quotes of the week

They said what?! The week (10-16 Oct) in quotes from the art and antiques world

16 October 2016

In a new weekend series, Antiques Trade Gazette brings you a selection of quotes from dealers, auctioneers, collectors and others – from the future gazing to recalling past mistakes. For instance, which world famous art dealer sold a signed John Lennon album for a song?

Hubert Robert painting

Hubert Robert – French museums’ flavour of the month at auction

09 October 2016

For the second time in a month a French museum has secured a painting by Hubert Robert.

Orangerie at Versailles by Hubert Robert

Versailles takes its pick and buys picture of the château orangerie

28 September 2016

The Château of Versailles exercised its right of pre-emption to acquire an 18th century painting of its orangerie that was offered at auction.

Joan Carlile portrait

Tate acquire early Joan Carlile portrait

26 September 2016

The Tate has acquired its earliest picture by a female artist.

Collage screen by Kenneth Halliwell

Islington Museum buys collage by Joe Orton's lover at auction

23 September 2016

Islington Museum has paid £8000 for a screen collage by Joe Orton's lover and killer Kenneth Halliwell at a JP Humbert auction this week.

Martin Roth

Director departs V&A after period of acquisition and growth

06 September 2016

The director of the Victoria & Albert Museum is to step down this autumn after five years in the role.

Tommy Cooper Blackpool poster

Just Like That! V&A acquires Tommy Cooper collection

29 August 2016

With his trademark fez and deceptively shambolic stage persona, Tommy Cooper was one of Britain’s best known TV personalities. Now the Victoria & Albert Museum is acknowledging his fame and popularity with the announcement that they have acquired the comedian’s memorabilia collection.

Isaac Oliver's portrait of Lord Herbert of Cherbury

Jacobean miniature acquired by National Trust for Powis Castle

17 August 2016

The National Trust has acquired an important Jacobean portrait miniature for £2.1m from a private seller in a sale brokered by Omnia Art.

Joshua Reynolds portrait of 5th Earl of Carlisle

Tate takes ownership of Joshua Reynolds portrait from Castle Howard

16 August 2016

The Tate has acquired a major portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792) from Castle Howard in North Yorkshire after it was accepted in lieu of inheritance tax.

Castle Howard cabinets

Italian cabinets from Castle Howard head to Fitzwilliam Museum

12 August 2016

An impressive and richly decorated pair of early 17th century gilt bronze and pietre dura inlaid Italian cabinets, which stood in Castle Howard, Yorkshire for two and a half centuries, have been saved for the Nation by the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.

Hans Coper studio pottery bowl

Early Hans Coper bowl bought for V&A after export ban

10 August 2016

The V&A have acquired an early form by the artist-potter Hans Coper (1920-81). Made in 1955 in the studio Coper shared with Lucie Rie in Paddington, London, the large bowl was the subject of a temporary export ban in 2015 in the hope a UK buyer could be found.