Who will save Nonsuch Palace?

March 2 2016

Image of Who will save Nonsuch Palace?

Picture: DCMS

The best known depiction of Nonsuch Palace, one Henry VIII's most extravagant creations, is at risk of leaving the UK. The Culture Minister Ed Vaizey has placed a temporary export bar on the drawing, in the hope that a UK institution will step in to save the work. The amount needed is £1m. 

This is an extremely important picture, and I hope we can keep it here. It is not just a rare and beautiful object (painted by Joris Hoefnagel in 1568) but an important record of Tudor architecture at its best. The palace was demolished in the late 17th Century, after it was sold to pay the debts of Barbara Villiers, Charles II's mistress.

The picture was last seen at auction in 2010, where it went unsold (to my surprise) against an estimate of £800,000 - £1.2m.

Update - a reader writes:

The press releases don't mention that there is an almost identical watercolour in the British Museum.

It would be difficult for an institution to justify buying the other version!

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