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.


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Millennials and museums flock to TEFAF Maastricht

03 April 2023

Dealers at the Dutch art and antiques fair noticed a welcome trend of more eclectic tastes among younger buyers

Victorian sporting jacket

Victorian ladies’ cycling gear wheels its way to Australia after wealthy donor bids at auction

03 April 2023

A Victorian ladies’ sporting jacket believed to have been used for cycling has been bought for the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) in Melbourne, Australia.

Omai

The National Portrait Gallery and Getty Museum to jointly buy Reynolds’ Omai portrait

31 March 2023

Sir Joshua Reynolds’ Portrait of Mai (Omai) has been bought jointly by The National Portrait Gallery and the Getty Museum after long-running discussions.

Jane Austen print

Jane Austen letter goes to her former house in deal brokered by Cheffins

23 March 2023

Jane Austen’s House in Chawton, Hampshire has acquired a rare early example of a handwritten letter by the novelist after its sale was negotiated by Cambridge auction house Cheffins.

Kellett sledge flag

Cash call from Navy museum to help buy Kellett sledge flag

14 March 2023

The National Museum of the Royal Navy is launching a fundraising plan to buy a flag from polar explorer Captain Henry Kellett (1806-75).

Ryedale Hoard

Treasure Act strengthened so more antiquities finds can be bought by museums

22 February 2023

The government is updating the Treasure Act so that important finds that are not part of the current legal definition can be more easily bought by museums.

Bindo Altoviti

Marble marvel: 16th century portrait on stone acquired by the Met

20 February 2023

A remarkable 16th century oil painting on marble that previously sold at Sotheby’s has been acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Bust of Antoninus Pius

Getty Museum applies for export licence for Roman bust bought at London auction

14 February 2023

The Getty Museum has agreed to acquire an ancient Roman marble bust which was sold at auction in London.

Cameo collection

Dutch museum buys huge Content collection of cameos put together over four decades

13 February 2023

A huge collection of cameos bought by the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden (National Museum of Antiquities) will now go on display at the museum in Leiden.

Bronze figure

‘Medici’ brings bronze awards for museums at auction

06 February 2023

Two important Mannerist bronzes were bought by museums when a New York private collection was sold in Manhattan last month.

Tudor pendant

Metal detecting trend boosts Treasure finds in the UK

31 January 2023

Enthusiastic metal detectorists discovered 96% of archaeological and Treasure finds, according to the latest report.

Giulio Asistide Sartorio pictures

Frieze master: dealer sells Sartorios to the D’Orsay

30 January 2023

The Musée d’Orsay in Paris has acquired two large paintings by Giulio Aristide Sartorio (1860-1932) from Rome dealership Antonacci Lapiccirella.

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.

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