The Art Fund completes purchase of Dumfries House as new trust announced

  • 29 November 2007

The Art Fund has announced that the ownership of Dumfries House and its contents has passed to The Great Steward of Scotland's Dumfries House Trust.

The Trust has been established to preserve and maintain Dumfries House and its magnificent contents and open it to the public - which is expected to be in summer 2008.

Dumfries House, situated in Cumnock, East Ayrshire, about 50 minutes from Glasgow and 20 from Prestwick Airport, is one of the most important Georgian houses in the UK.  Dating from the time of the Scottish Enlightenment, containing an outstanding collection of untouched 18th century furniture selected specifically for the house at the time it was built, including pieces by Thomas Chippendale and his Scottish contemporaries William Matthie, Alexander Peter and Francis Brodie.

The campaign to secure Dumfries House and its contents for the nation was launched by SAVE Britain’s Heritage in March 2007.  In May The Art Fund approached SAVE to offer its support and announced its pledge of £2million - the largest in The Art Fund’s history, later increased to £2.25m. 

The Art Fund also attracted funding from The Monument Trust, the Garfield Weston Foundation and Sir Siegmund Warburg’s Voluntary Settlement.  Other major contributors include the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Scottish Government, and HRH The Prince of Wales, through the Prince’s Charities Foundation, who responded so generously to the challenge of saving this unique collection.

David Barrie, Director of The Art Fund, said:
“We are thrilled that The Art Fund has been able to act as the formal legal purchaser of the house and its unique collection, enabling the sale to be organised at the eleventh hour.  The Art Fund has been a driving force in putting together the unique funding package behind this extraordinary campaign, and I look forward to the opening of the house and its unique contents for the public to enjoy next year.” 

Michael Schafer, currently Property Manager of Culzean Castle in Ayrshire, has been appointed Chief Executive of the new Trust, which also confirmed the appointment of its Board of Trustees, chaired by Sir Michael Peat, The Prince’s Principal Private Secretary.  To see the full list of trustees, please see the press release below.

Press release