Acquisitions round-up: Autumn 2016

  • Published 15 September 2016

Thanks to the support of National Art Pass members and Art Fund donors, we have helped museums and galleries acquire these works of art over the past three months.

1. Francis Hayman, Portrait of Charles Bedford as an Infant, 1744-45

V&A Museum of Childhood

This intimate portrait of Grosvenor Bedford's son Charles, aged about two, shows him dressed in a plain nightgown lying on a bed and eating a biscuit. The informal pose and details of the scene offer a fascinating glimpse into the early life of upper-class children in the 18th century.

2. Edward Atkinson Hornel, Harvesting, Kirkcudbright, 1885

Broughton House (Hornel Art Gallery)

This work, painted when Hornel was just 21, shows a woman digging potatoes with the rooftops of Kirkcudbright in the distance. Hornel grew up in Kirkcudbright and continued to live in the town until his death in 1933.

3. Various artists, 11 contemporary ceramics and glass from Ahead of the Curve exhibition by Zhuang Xiaowei​, 2010-14

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery

Bristol Museum contains the largest holding of Chinese glassware (rather than snuff-bottles) outside China, and these new pieces – of which three are glass, and eight are ceramics – are now set to complement the historic collections.

4. Joseph Wright of Derby, Arkwright's Cotton Mills, by Day and Willersley Castle, by Day, 1795-96

Derby Museum and Art Gallery

These two paintings from Wright's last years illustrate both his distinctive style and his strong connection to the landscape and culture of Derbyshire. Sir Richard Arkwright's cotton mill, built in Cromford in 1771, is credited as being one of the first factories in England.

5. John Faed, Rabbit Catches​, 1866

Stewartry Museum

One of Faed's favourite models, Sandy Inglis, is depicted as poacher in Rabbit Catches, with two dead animals clearly depicted in the foreground set against a backdrop of Galloway forest. Inglis appears in 14 of the artist's paintings.

6. Unknown artists, The Rendlesham Collection by Anglo-Saxon​, fifth century

Colchester and Ipswich Museums

This remarkable collection of objects, excavated close to the village of Rendlesham, near Woodbridge, Suffolk, includes 40 coins, fine jewellery and other items believed to be related to an Anglo-Saxon palace which once stood on the site.​

7. Pierre Platel, Queen Anne silver-gilt tazza, 1712

Ayscoughfee Hall Museum

The tazza was made in 1712 by Platel, a French Huguenot who fled France for England in 1685. In 1697 he was naturalised as a British citizen, and he entered his first mark as a goldsmith in London in 1699.

8. Omer Fast, 5000 Feet is the Best, 2011

IWM London (Imperial War Museums) and Towner Art Gallery

Fast's work is based on a series of interviews conducted with a former drone pilot in Las Vegas. The title refers to the optimum altitude at which a US Air Force drone can identify targets on the ground.

9. John Webber, A View in the Island of Pulo Condore, 1784-93

Captain Cook Memorial Museum

As the official artist on Captain Cook's third and final voyage (1776-80), Webber – a young man of Swiss-German origin – was charged with recording the places, people, objects and events encountered on the expedition.

10. Tristram Paul Hillier, The Vale from Cucklington, 1944

Museum of Somerset

This painting depicts the medieval church of St Lawrence with the Somerset fields in the distance. The moody scene is one of desolation, with fallen branches, a broken fence and an inert church bell.

11. Maxwell Ashby Armfield, Gunnersbury Park, 1933

Gunnersbury Park Museum

This record of the landscape and building's history will be displayed at Gunnersbury Park Museum when it reopens after renovation in 2017.

12. Percy Wyndham Lewis, A Lady Reading, 1921

Leeds Art Gallery

The subject of this painting is Iris Barry, Lewis's lover, who is shown with her hair in a bun and wearing an avant-garde wrapover waistcoat. The drawing has most recently been in the collection of Valerie Eliot, widow of the poet TS Eliot.

13. Tam Joseph, Spirit of the Carnival, 1983

Wolverhampton Art Gallery

This painting reflects the uneasy relationship that existed between black communities and the police in Britain during the early 1980s, particularly at the annual Notting Hill Carnival. The scene shows a masked performer in traditional Dominican carnival costume penned in by crowds of riot police and under attack from a snarling dog.

14. John Opie, A Portrait of an Old Jew, 1779

Penlee House Gallery & Museum

The subject of this painting is likely to have been Abraham Hart, a Penzance rabbi. Jews first came to Penzance from Germany and the Netherlands at the start of the 18th century and a small cemetery in the town became their resting place.

15. Chloe Dewe Mathews, Shot at Dawn, 2013

Herbert Art Gallery & Museum

These two photographic works by Dewe Mathews are from Shot at Dawn, a series which records some of the sites at which British, French and Belgian soldiers were executed for cowardice or desertion during the First World War.

16. Boyle family, Liverpool Dock, 1976

National Museum Wales

The Boyle family gained renown for their contribution to the experimental art and happenings of the 1960s and 70s, specifically their interventions at Liverpool Dock, which included enormous casts of the site and 'transpositions' where their surroundings were re-presented as large-scale sculpture.

17. Various artists, collection of 18 Japanese wooden, bronze and ceramic decorative objects by Various artists​,16th to 20th century

Ashmolean Museum

This highly significant contribution to the Eastern Art department includes a number of rare pieces from the Meiji (1868-1912) and Taisho (1912-26) periods, as well as several earlier Edo ceramics (1600-1867).

18. Elizabeth Violet Blackadder, Begonia, 1970

Aberdeen Art Gallery

Blackadder is the only woman to be a fully elected member of both the Royal Academy and the Royal Scottish Academy. Although her work is in a range of media, including tapestry, oil and lithography, many consider her watercolours to be her greatest achievement.

19. David Bomberg, Portrait of Lilian Bomberg, c1930

Pallant House Gallery

Between 1929-38 Bomberg painted a series of intimate portraits of his wife Lilian, which are notable for their use of vigorous brushstrokes. This painting will form a key component in the gallery's major exhibition of his work next year.

20. Unknown artist, gold, garnet and pearl finger ring from Bolnhurst and Keysoe, c1400

Ashmolean Museum

This delicately decorated ring, unearthed in the Bedfordshire parish of Bolnhurst and Keysoe, shares stylistic similarities with an English royal crown believed to have been made by a Parisian craftsman in the late 14th century.

21. Frank Owen Salisbury, View of the East Hall of the Victoria and Albert Museum, c1919


This fascinating record of the museum's Aston Webb wing depicts the Chancel Chapel from the Church of Santa Chiara, Florence, in situ in the newly created galleries.

22. Various makers, eight pieces of Chinese and Japanese ceramics, various dates


These pieces, six of which are already on long-term loan at the museum, feature stunning relief decorations of dragons and a lion dog, as well as beautiful depictions of the natural world.

23. Fred Baier, Tetrahedron Toroid Table, 1995

Fitzwilliam Museum

Throughout his 40-year career, Baier has focused on exploring and building innovative structures for contemporary furniture, drawing on an interest in geometry, industrial history and different material qualities such as colour and pattern.

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