Van Dycks we've helped buy

  • 25 November 2013

This isn't the first time the Art Fund has helped with the acquisition of a work by the prolific 17th-century artist; 15 other Van Dyck paintings have been bought for UK museums and galleries, thanks to our support.

1. Wooded Landscape, acquired for British Museum in 1936

The first ArtFunded Van Dyck was a study of trees.

2.  Sketch of a Springing Dog, acquired for Scottish National Gallery in 1953

This Van Dyck sketch was part of a collection of 115 works bequeathed by Sir Edward Marsh.

3. The Magdalen after Titian, acquired for York Art Gallery in 1955

Van Dyck captures the Magdalen gazing up towards the heavens, with her left hand raised to her breast.

4. Adrien Hendriksz Moens, acquired for York Art Gallery in 1957

The original of this painting was titled 'Nicholas Rockox' and featured a column in the background. Cut down to the current format in 1929, there is now no sign of the column and the piece has been renamed.

5. Portrait of a Man, acquired for the Fitzwilliam Museum in 1972

A feigned oval portrait, painted in Van Dyck's characteristic Flemish style.

6. Charles, 2nd Earl of Dunfermline & Alex Henderson, acquired for Scottish National Portrait Gallery in 1974

Portraits of two of the leaders of the opposition to Charles I: Charles, 2nd Earl of Dunfermline, who helped to head up the covenanting army that opposed the King in 1639, and Henderson in Scotland (not pictured), who was against his church policy.

7. The Virgin and Child, acquired for the Fitzwilliam Museum in 1976

This painting was the subject of one of the most dramatic attempts to 'save' a work of art for a British public collection in the 1970s. The Art Fund offered £15,000 towards its purchase, but it was sold to a foreign buyer for more than the Fitzwilliam could raise at the time. The Reviewing Committee recommended that an export licence should be withheld for three months, but the museum struggled to find the necessary funds. It was only an anonymous donation of £100,000 at a late stage in the campaign that enabled the Fitzwilliam to buy the piece.

8. Lord George Stuart, Seigneur D'Aubigny, 1618-42, acquired for the National Portrait Gallery in 1988

The portrait is inscribed with the motto in Latin 'Love is stronger than I am' which is presumably an allusion to Lord Stuart's conflicting loyalties. At the time it was painted the Catholic Lord had just secretly married Lady Katherine Howard, daughter of a papist. The match incurred the wrath of Lord George's guardian, the King.

9. Princess Elizabeth (1635-1650) and Princess Anne (1637-1640), acquired for Scottish National Portrait Gallery in 1996

Van Dyck's portrait of the two royal princesses made early in 1637 was in preparation for the large group portrait, The Five Eldest Children of Charles I, which hung in the King's breakfast chamber in the Palace of Whitehall and is now in the Royal Collection.

10. Study of Margaret Lemon, acquired for the Fitzwilliam Museum in 2001

Margaret Lemon was Van Dyck's mistress for several years during his stay in England. Here her head rests on a pillow in an intimate, relaxed and sensual style.

11. Portrait of William Killigrew, acquired for the Tate Collection in 2002

Sir William Killigrew, a courtier to Charles I and a playwright, leans pensively against the base of a column, while a ring attached to his jacket by a ribbon is thought to be a sign of mourning. The features are rich with restrained emotion, and the lips slightly parted.

12. Virgin and Child, acquired for Cannon Hall Museum, Park and Gardens in 2002

This painting was originally part of a renowned collection owned by the Harvey family, which included a range of works by Dutch and Flemish masters.

13. Portrait of Mary Hill, Lady Killigrew, acquired for Tate Collection in 2003

This piece was likely to have been conceived as part of a pair alongside Van Dyck's portrait of Sir William Killigrew, which the Art Fund also helped buy for the Tate collection (no. 12). Both paintings have the sitters' hands positioned at the same low level, and have finely painted landscapes in the background.

14. Portrait of Sir Basil Dixwell, acquired for Beaney House of Art and Knowledge in 2004

Sir Basil Dixwell was a notable landowner who, between 1635 and 1638, built Broome Park, near Canterbury. Here his black jacket and white shirt with lace collar and cuffs are emblematic of his wealth, while his right hand is raised to rest satisfactorily on his stomach.

Tags: save-van-dyck