Celebrating Seven Magnificent Museum Acquisitions in 2016

Launch Slideshow

In 2016 Sotheby’s Tax and Heritage department in London negotiated museum sales and offers in lieu of over 100 cultural objects. The team is dedicated to assisting clients and their advisers with UK taxation and heritage issues arising through the acquisition, ownership, and sale of works of art. They work closely with heritage property owners, museums and galleries to achieve tax-efficient sales of art, offers in lieu of Inheritance Tax and cultural gifts, all for the benefit of institutions throughout the UK.  Click ahead to find out about seven museum acquisitions that the team worked on this past year.

Find out more about Tax and Heritage.

Celebrating Seven Magnificent Museum Acquisitions in 2016

  • James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Study For the Portrait Of Miss Cicely Alexander
    The oil portrait (which is one of the highlights of the 19th century pictures at Tate Britain) for which this elegant pastel is the study was commissioned by Whistler’s great patron William Cleverly Alexander (1840-1916). It has remained in collections of his descendants until this year when it was offered, alongside two other pastels by Whistler, in lieu of Inheritance Tax and allocated to the Fitzwilliam Museum , Cambridge. This work exudes the elegance of the English Belle Epoque, and is one of Whistler’s very finest studies of style and colour on paper.

  • Workshop of Dieric Bouts the Elder, St Luke drawing the Virgin and Child
    The depiction of St Luke drawing the Virgin and child from the collection at Penrhyn Castle is a very important work by Dieric Bouts, one of the most important 15th century Netherland painters. Paintings of this subject and period are extremely rare in public collections in the UK .This superb devotional work by Bouts was sold following an export stop to the Art Fund for display at the Bowes Museum , County Durham.

  • Sir Joshua Reynolds, P.R.A. Portrait of Frederick, 5th Earl of Carlisle
    This arresting portrait of the 20-year-old Frederick, 5th Earl of Carlisle, and his dog Rover was completed in 1769, the same year Reynolds became the founding president of the Royal Academy. Wearing his newly granted robes of the Order of the Thistle Frederick Howard announces himself as an elegant and sophisticated man of the world. One of the most important portraits by Reynolds, it was accepted in lieu of Inheritance Tax and allocated to Tate Britain for display ‘in situ’ in the Turquoise Drawing room at Castle Howard, Yorkshire.

  • A pair of Italian rosewood Pietre Dure mounted, inlaid ebony cabinets, Roman, circa 1625, on a pair of Regency mahogany and parcel-gilt stands possibly to a design by C H Tatham, first quarter 19th century
    This magnificent pair of pietre dure cabinets had been part of the private collection at Castle Howard, Yorkshire, since they were purchased by Henry Howard, the 4th Earl of Carlisle, most likely during his time in Rome during his second ‘Grand Tour’ of Italy (1738-9). They were offered at auction by Sotheby’s by the Trustees of Castle Howard, and were bought by the Fitzwilliam Museum , Cambridge following an export stop.

  • Sir Anthony Van Dyck, Portrait of Olivia, Mrs Endymion Porter
    This spectacular painting from the collection at Syon House is one of the finest and most important portraits from Van Dyck’s English period. The work depicts the wife of one of his most important patrons and his closest friend, the great courtier and collector Endymion Porter. This picture is almost certainly entirely by Van Dyck’s own hand, without traces of studio assistance. It was accepted in lieu of Inheritance Tax and allocated to the Bowes Museum , County Durham.

  • Claude Monet, Étretat, L’Aigulle et la Porte d’Aval
    Monet’s pastel painted on the French North coast is one of the finest works on paper by the great Impressionist. The stunning natural features of Étretat made a profound impact on the artist and his art, featuring in a large number of works from three distinct periods in his career. This exquisite pastel from the estate of Valerie Middleton was accepted in lieu of Inheritance Tax and allocated to the National Galleries of Scotland.

  • Alexander Cumming. A George III Mahogany Longcase Barograph Regulator, London, Date 1766, the Case probably by Thomas Chippendale
    This rare clock dated 1766 in a case attributed to Thomas Chippendale is one of only four of its type made by the renowned London clockmaker, Alexander Cumming. It was used by the famous meteorologist Luke Howard (known as 'the father of scientific meteorology') to undertake some of the world’s first urban climate studies. It was acquired by the Science Museum a private treaty sale negotiated by Sotheby’s Tax and Heritage.


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