The National Army Museum saves General Wolfe with grant from The Art Fund

  • Published 2 June 2008

The National Army Museum is pleased to announce that the appeal to save the J S C Schaak painting of General Wolfe - victor of the Battle of Quebec and a hero of the Seven Years War - from export to a private collection overseas has been successful.

A contribution of £80,000 from the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF), the nation’s ‘fund of last resort’, alongside £15,000 from The Art Fund, the UK's leading independent art charity and generous contributions from The Garfield Weston Foundation and the Society of Friends of the National Army Museum (SOFNAM), has enabled the appeal - whose supporters include TV historian Professor Richard Holmes - to reach its £300,000 target.

The painting, was sold on 6 June 2007, after the National Army Museum was outbid at auction, but its export was temporarily stopped by the Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest. The National Army Museum, which preserves the heritage of the British Army from the middle ages to the modern day, then formally expressed interest in preserving Wolfe’s portrait in its Collection.

Museum Director Dr Alan Guy, said: “The museum is delighted to have reached our target and secured the safe preservation of this painting for the UK. Like many of Britain’s great military heroes, Wolfe’s achievements are no longer widely known, but 250 years ago, he was a celebrity. His bold plan to outflank and surprise the French army at Quebec left Canada in the hands of the British Crown. Like Nelson at Trafalgar, he died at the moment of the victory which secured his fame.”

Based on a drawing from life by Wolfe’s aide-de-camp Hervey Smyth, the painting is the most authentic portrait of James Wolfe, at the time, and place, of his death.

Carole Souter, Chief Executive of NHMF, said: “General Wolfe became a national hero following his death in the service of this country, and the leadership he demonstrated is an example to us all. This is the definitive painting of him and it is fitting that the National Heritage Memorial Fund has helped save it for future generations to learn from and enjoy.” The painting is due to go on display at the museum on the 5th June alongside a selection of artefacts relating to Wolfe from the museum’s existing collection including a series of prints made from the painting.

David Barrie, Director of The Art Fund, said: "Adonis he wasn't, but General Wolfe was an eighteenthcentury cult hero, and his death at the hour of victory prompted a flood of prints and other mass market goods, all of which bore this very image. Schaak's painting is of outstanding historical importance as it is the only full length oil portrait of the General in existence, and The Art Fund is proud to have supported its

Notes For Editors
Contact 020 7730 0717 Becca Hubbard x 4088
Julian Farrance x 2338

The National Heritage Memorial Fund
The National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) is the ‘fund of last resort’ for the nation’s heritage, coming to the rescue by funding emergency acquisitions in memory of those who gave their lives
for this country. In recognition of the vital role it plays and to help meet an increasing number of applications, the Government initially doubled NHMF’s income from £5million to £10million for 2007/08 and recently confirmed this increased funding until 2011.
For further information about the NHMF, please contact Dervish Mertcan or Alex Gaskell at NHMF
press office: 020 7591 6102/6032 or on the out of office hours mobile: 07973 613 820.

The Art Fund
The Art Fund is the UK’s leading independent art charity. It offers grants to help UK museums and galleries enrich their collections; campaigns on behalf of museums and their visitors; and promotes the enjoyment of art. It is entirely funded from public donations and has 80,000 members. Since 1903 the charity has helped museums and galleries all over the UK secure 860,000 works of art for their collections. Recent achievements include: helping secure Anthony d’Offay’s collection, ARTIST ROOMS, for Tate and National Galleries of Scotland in February 2008 with a grant of £1million; putting together
a unique funding package to ensure Dumfries House in Ayrshire and its contents were secured intact for the nation in July 2007; and running the ‘Buy a Brushstroke’ public appeal which raised over £550,000 to keep Turner’s Blue Rigi watercolour in the UK.
For more information contact the Press Office on 020 7225 4888 or visit