Another noble disposal

April 25 2014

Image of Another noble disposal

Picture: Arts Council

I see with sadness that the Duke of Northumberland (or more accurately, his trustees) are selling a number of fine works in the forthcoming summer Old Master sales. Inlcuded on the Arts Council's Notice of Intention to Sell lists are the above portrait of Frances Devereux by Van Dyck, and also Gilbert Stuart's famous portrait (below) of Joseph Brant, the mohawk leader Thayendenegea who was the best known American Indian of his age.

The Van Dyck is 'priced' at £600,000, which probably suggests a likely estimate of £400,000-£600,000 (on the cheap side I'd say, it's a fine picture, which I've seen up close at Syon House). The Stuart portrait is listed at £1.5m, and I can also see that making more, with US interest. That said, it would probably be export-stopped if bought by an overseas buyer.

As I've said here before, increasing prices for Old Masters mean we are likely to see more sales from country houses, and consequently sales outside the UK. Happily, however, bodies like the Heritage Lottery Fund are now able to help keep some of these treasures in the country.

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