Rubens acquired by the Fitzwilliam

August 28 2012

Image of Rubens acquired by the Fitzwilliam

Picture: Fitzwilliam Museum/National Gallery

In December last year I mentioned a delightful oil sketch by Rubens, The Triumph of Venus, which had been accepted in lieu of inheritance tax by the UK government. As is the system, the government invited bids in from museums as to who should be permanently allocated the picture. It has now been allocated to the Fitzwilliam Museum, but for a while was on loan to the National Gallery. I have a fantasy that somewhere, in some basement store-room, there was a curatorial cage fight over who got to keep it.  

That said, a reader points out that in contrast to the National Gallery's trumpeting of their recent tax acquisitions, the Fitzwilliam is silent. the picture is listed on their collections database, but not their news page. This is similar to the museum's lack of any fanfare for their £225,000 Bassetti acquisition last year. So, something for the new Fitzwilliam director to oversee when they're appointed - a better news section on the website!

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