Titian saved for the nation

The Titian masterpiece Diana and Callisto will be shared by the National Galleries of Scotland (NGS) in Edinburgh and London’s National Gallery (NG) after a strenuous three-year fund-raising campaign to keep the painting in Britain. In 2009, the Duke of Sutherland offered the picture for sale, plus Diana and Actaeon, which was painted at about the same time, in 1556-59. The latter work was saved for the nation at £50 million in 2009 and the galleries were given until this year to find £45 million for Diana and Callisto, the Duke generously agreeing a £5 million reduction.

Realising the difficulty of launching a public campaign in straitened economic times, the National Gallery paid £25 million from its charitable reserves and the decision was made to approach individual donors and trusts, who gave £15 million, plus grant-giving organisations the Art Fund (£2 million) and the Heritage Lottery Fund (£3 million). This means that the Bridgewater Collection, the world’s greatest private collection of Old Masters, will remain intact at the NGS.

 Bought jointly by the National Gallery and National Galleries of Scotland with contributions from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Art Fund, The Monument Trust and through private appeal and bequests, 2012

The paintings have been in the UK for more than 200 years; done for Philip II of Spain, they left Titian’s studio together and have only changed hands three times since then. Art Fund director Stephen Deuchar comments: ‘They have influenced generations of artists. By ensuring the two works remain together, we greatly augment our understanding of their significance.’ NG director Nicholas Penny describes the achievement as ‘a triumph’. He says: ‘We have been able to secure both of them for the public, in a period of economic hardship, because of the esteem and affection that both institutions have enjoyed for many decades.’

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