National Heritage Memorial Fund joins campaign to save Titian

  • 21 November 2008

Following The Art Fund's generous donation of £1million - the largest ever donation to a single work of art in the charity's 105 year history - the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF), the UK's fund of last resort for saving great heritage at risk, is awarding £10million to The National Galleries of Scotland and the National Gallery to help acquire Titian's pre-eminent masterpiece, Diana and Actaeon.

David Barrie, Director of The Art Fund, said: “It's wonderful news that the NHMF has supported the purchase of this great painting. This exceptionally generous grant has given the campaign the vital boost it needed, and if the two governments are also prepared to dig deep, Diana and Actaeon will remain where they belong, for everyone to enjoy.”

Jenny Abramsky, Chair of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, said: “This is exactly what the National Heritage Memorial Fund was set up to do. We have moved quickly to show our support and hope this persuades others to dig deep to make this dream a reality. It was an extraordinary and challenging decision for us financially, but it’s as important as ever to protect our enduring cultural heritage – those things of outstanding quality that enrich our national life.

“The NHMF is privileged to be able to take a really long-term view, and if our contribution helps the campaign to succeed, generations to come will be able to enjoy this truly extraordinary work of art.”

John Leighton, Director-General, National Galleries of Scotland, said: “This extremely generous and wholehearted support from the National Heritage Memorial Fund represents a major boost for the campaign to acquire this superlative masterpiece for the national collections. In supporting this acquisition the Fund has also recognised fully the vital importance of keeping the Bridgewater Collection on view in Scotland and available for the inspiration and enjoyment of the present and future generations.”

Nicholas Penny, Director, National Gallery London, said: “We are enormously grateful to the National Heritage Memorial Fund for this hugely generous offer. It represents a crucial endorsement of the value of acquiring the Titian and will inspire others to support the campaign. It brings us significantly closer to our target.”

The Galleries have until the end of this year to raise the £50m to acquire Diana and Actaeon. If this is successful the galleries will be offered an option (which may be exercised up until 2012) to buy a second painting, Diana and Callisto for a similar amount. Both paintings will then go on a rotating display between London and Edinburgh, spending five years at a time in each location.

Due to popular demand, Diana and Actaeon will now be on display at the National Gallery in London until Sunday 14 December 2008.

For more information on The Art Fund's grant of £1m, click here:


Notes to Editors:

The Collection
The Bridgewater Collection has been on continuous public view in the National Gallery of Scotland since 1945 and the loan constitutes one of the greatest loans of old master pictures from a private collection to a public museum anywhere in the world. It immeasurably enriches the appeal and status of the National Galleries of Scotland as a centre of cultural excellence. The loan consists of twenty-seven paintings and one drawing by artists such as Raphael, Titian, Poussin and Rembrandt and it attracts visitors from all over the world.

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.

The National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF)
The National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) is a ‘fund of last resort’ set up to save the nation’s heritage in memory of those who gave their lives for this country. It currently receives £10million annual grant-in-aid from the government. Four paintings were purchased by the National Galleries of Scotland from the Bridgewater Collection in1984 with the help of an NHMF grant of £1,030,000. A £7.6millon Heritage Lottery Fund award in 2003 helped secure Titian’s Venus Anadyomene for the NGS, also part of the Bridgewater Collection. NHMF has helped save many works of art for the nation, including: Turner’s The Blue Rigi, saved last year by Tate with the help of a grant of £1.95million; a portrait of John Donne acquired by The National Portrait Gallery in 2006 with a grant of £750,000; a portrait of Elizabeth Gunning, Duchess of Hamilton by Gavin Hamilton acquired by the Scottish National Portrait Gallery with a £200,000 grant from the NHMF; and a portrait of Sir Richard Arkwright acquired by the Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston with a £132,000 grant.

The Art Fund is a Registered Charity No. 209174