'Bridgewater Seapiece' future in balance (ctd.)

January 11 2016

Image of 'Bridgewater Seapiece' future in balance (ctd.)

Picture: National Gallery

The Sunday Times reported yesterday that Turner's 'Bridgewater Seapiece' had been 'saved for the nation' after its late owner Harry Hyams specified in his will that the picture should be left on display at the National Gallery. The story was picked up today by The Telegraph.

The Sunday Times (paywall) reports:

Harry Hyams, who died last month, is understood to have stipulated in his will that Dutch Boats in a Gale should remain on loan at the National Gallery, where it has hung since 1998, for the foreseeable future.

Perhaps though the story is more interesting for what it doesn't tell us. There's no mention of an Acceptance in Lieu offer (though Hyams' stipulation that the picture stays at the National could signal that), and we don't yet know who the picture has been bequeathed to (except that it evidently wasn't directly to the National Gallery). So it's good that the picture isn't going anywhere soon - but I'm not sure we can yet say it has been saved for the National for good. That's up to the new owner.

Update - in a short notice the Jewish Chronicle states that the picture has in fact been bequeathed to the National Gallery, though without stating its source.

Update II - should the picture be offered to the nation in lieu of tax, then it's worth noting that the current limit for tax foregone in this manner by the Treasury is £40m per year. The Bridgewater Seapiece is hard to value, but it must surely be more than one year's worth of AIL, and perhaps two. 

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