The Art Fund gives 1million to save Titian's Diana and Actaeon

  • 14 October 2008

A 1million donation to the campaign to save Titian's Diana and Actaeon, one of the greatest paintings in private ownership, is announced today (Tuesday 14 October) with an exceptional grant from The Art Fund, the UK's leading independent art charity. The grant, the first to be publicly pledged, is the largest ever donation to a single work of art in The Art Fund's 105 year history.

The charity hopes that other funding bodies will come together to raise the full amount within the 12 week deadline of 31 December 2008. If this effort fails there is absolutely no guarantee that this work will remain on public view in this country or abroad.

David Barrie, Director of The Art Fund, said: "This painting can and must be saved. In the current climate it will be difficult, but we managed to save Titian’s Vendramin Family and the Wilton Diptych during the depression - just as great a challenge. Today we have put our money on the table. Now others must come together if this extraordinarily important painting is to be kept where it belongs."

John Leighton, Director General of the National Galleries of Scotland, said: "This very generous donation from The Art Fund is a huge boost to our effort to keep this masterpiece on public view and to secure the future of the world-famous Bridgewater Collection. We are enormously grateful to The Art Fund for their enthusiastic support."

Nicholas Penny, Director of the National Gallery, said: "Fear that these supreme masterpieces by Titian might leave these shores was a major factor in the foundation of The Art Fund and it is highly appropriate that the Fund should be the first to support our campaign to acquire them. We are deeply grateful to the Fund and to all its members for what they are doing for both National Galleries."

Titian’s Diana and Actaeon is on offer at a significantly reduced price of £50million to National Galleries of Scotland and the National Gallery in London from the Bridgewater Collection, which has been on loan to the National Galleries of Scotland since 1945. This is the most important private collection of Old Master paintings on loan to an institution in the UK and counts among the most important anywhere in the world.

The owner has offered the Galleries the opportunity to acquire two masterpieces from the collection on extremely generous terms: Diana and Actaeon and Diana and Callisto, both by Titian. The two Titians are arguably the finest works in the Bridgewater Loan. They were both painted as part of a cycle of works for Philip II of Spain and they represent a highpoint in Italian Renaissance art. If successful in acquiring Diana and Actaeon, the two Galleries will be granted an option, exercisable at any point up until the end of 2012, to acquire the second picture, Diana and Callisto, for a similar amount.

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Notes to editors:

1. In 1929 the National Gallery managed to raise the £212,000 needed to acquire Titian’s Vendramin Family and the Wilton Diptych, which were being sold by the Duke of Northumberland and Earl of Pembroke respectively. The sums raised included a special government grant of £106,000 and £10,000 from The Art Fund. The two works were both included on the original ‘paramount list’.

2. The Art Fund has helped UK museums and galleries - including the national galleries in London and Edinburgh - acquire paintings by Titian on five previous occasions: The Death of Actaeon for the National Gallery in 1972; Venus Rising from the Sea (Venus Anadyomene ), which was also part of the Bridgewater Loan, for the National Gallery of Scotland in 2003; The Vendramin Family Venerating a Relic of the True Cross for the National Gallery in 1929, Portrait of a Lady (La Schiavona) for the National Gallery in 1942; and Portrait of Giacomo Doria for the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford in 2000.

3. 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

The Art Fund is a Registered Charity No. 209174