Acquisitions round-up: Summer 2017

  • Published 12 June 2017

Find out which works of art we've helped museums and galleries to acquire in the last three months, thanks to Art Fund members and donors.

The Essex House Tapestries: Life Of Julie Cope by Grayson Perry, 2015 Image courtesy of the Artist, Paragon Press, and Victoria Miro, London.

The Essex House Tapestries: Life Of Julie Cope by Grayson Perry, 2015


Image courtesy of the Artist, Paragon Press, and Victoria Miro, London.

1. Sir Thomas Lawrence, Unfinished Portrait of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, 1829

National Portrait Gallery, London

This portrait was commissioned by Lady Jersey, a leading political hostess and supporter of the Tories in the 1820s. At Lawrence's death in 1830, the portrait remained unfinished, but unlike many other clients, Lady Jersey refused to have it finished by a studio assistant.

2. Luc Tuymans, Issei Sagawa, 2014

Tate, London

Luc Tuymans portrait of Japanese killer Issei Sagawa, is not a conventional likeness, but a painting that resembles a blurred, bleached-out photo of Sagawa that appeared in a documentary film and was captured by the artist on his phone.

3. Tracey Emin, Death Mask, 2002

National Portrait Gallery, London

This unusual self-portrait draws on the historical tradition of the death mask. The work is one of four casts of the artist's face made in 2002. Each mask was cast in bronze with a different patina and finish.

4. Unknown artist, Sculpture of the Virgin and Child, c1360-70

British Museum, London

This masterpiece of 14th-century alabaster carving is a rare surviving example of a Virgin and Child made in England before the Reformation. The piece was likely carved in the Midlands, near the alabaster quarries in Derbyshire and Staffordshire.

5. Valerio Castello, Tobias Healing the Blind, c1650

Ferens Art Gallery, Hull

This magnificent Baroque canvas depicts the climactic moment from the apocryphal Old Testament Book of Tobit. The scene shows the Archangel Raphael instructing Tobit's son Tobias to cure his father's blindness by rubbing his eyes with gall from a miraculous fish.

6. John Ingle Lee, Sandbanks on the Mawddach, Barmouth, 1863-64

National Museum Cardiff

This oil painting is the only known landscape painting by the Liverpool artist John Ingle Lee. It shows a dramatic view of the Mawddach Estuary in northwest Wales, with the distant mountains veiled by rainclouds.

7. Basil Spence, Allegro dining suite, 1949

National Museums Scotland, Edinburgh

Very few complete suites of Allegro appear to have been made, however, the design of the chair, comprising more than 100 mahogany and betula laminations, was particularly admired.

8. John Piper, The Quay, Exeter, c1944

Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter

The Quay, Exeter, shows the historic Custom House and Harbour Master's Office on the quayside at Exeter, Devon.

9. Grayson Perry, The Essex House Tapestries: The Life of Julie Cope (In its Familiarity Golden; A Perfect Match), 2015

Crafts Council, London

These two tapestries tell the life story of Julie Cope, a fictional character created by Grayson Perry. The tapestries were created for a house in Essex designed by Perry for the Living Architecture project.

10. Issac Oliver, Edward Herbert, First Baron of Cherbury, c1613-14

Powis Castle and Garden

This iconic image of the English Renaissance shows Edward Herbert, 1st Baron of Cherbury, one of the most famous and ambitious men of his day.

11. Simon Roberts, Fountains Fell, Yorkshire Dales, 2008

Museums Sheffield

Fountains Fell, Yorkshire Dales is a photograph from 'We English', a series of pictures by Simon Roberts. This light-hearted image draws on the tradition of English landscape painting and portraiture to show a couple picnicking in the countryside.

12. Allan Ramsay, Portrait of Alexander Monro Primus, c1750

Surgeons' Hall Museums, Edinburgh and University of Edinburgh

Scottish artist Allan Ramsay painted this handsome portrait of Alexander Monro Primus, the distingushed surgeon, scholar and founder of Edinburgh Medical School in the 1750s.

13. Unknown makers, The Lenborough Hoard of Anglo-Saxon silver coins, c990-1035AD

Buckinghamshire County Museum, Aylesbury

This remarkable collection of 5,248 silver pennies were excavated in Lenborough, Buckinghamsire in 2014. The coins cover the rule of two kings, Ethelred II, who died in 1016, and Cnut, the first Viking king of England who ruled from 1016 to 1035.

14. Cao Fei, La Town, 2014

University of Salford

La Town is a video installation by Chinese multimedia artist Cao Fei and tells the story of a post-apocalyptic cityscape.The installation consists of the film and three vitrines containing models and figurines from the film.

15. Hermann Max Pechstein, Der Raucher: Portrat Alfred Hess, Erfurt, 1919

New Walk Museum and Art Gallery, Leicester

This portrait by the German Expressionist painter shows the German Jewish businessman Alfred Hess smoking a large Meerschaum pipe. Pechstein painted the portrait of Hess on a visit to his house in 1919.

16. David Cox, An Extensive View from Wyndcliffe looking across the Severn estuary towards England, c1840

Chepstow Museum

David Cox made many sketching tours of England and Wales and became a popular painter of scenery and illustrator of books. This sublime view from the Piercefield walks to Chepstow is one to which he returned a number of times.

17. Unknown maker, Medieval gold ring, c13th century

Museum nan Eilean, Stornoway

This remarkable gold ring was unearthed near Dun Eistean, an archaeological site on the northeast coast of the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. The centrepiece is likely to be glass rather than stone, as good-quality glass was often prized in this period over gems of inferior appearance.

18. Elston of Doncaster, Pair of 40-bore flintlock boxlock pocket pistols, c1770

Doncaster Museum and Art Gallery

This pair of 40-bore flintlock pistols belonged to the Warde (later Warde-Norbury) family of Hooton Pagnell Hall, a house in the Yorkshire borough of Doncaster.

19. George Frederic Watts, Portrait of Violet Lindsay, c1879

Watts Gallery, Compton

Watts was one of the most celebrated British artists of the Victorian age and this portrait of Violet Lindsay was widely exhibited and admired in Watts' lifetime.

20. Thomas Davies, An East View of the Great Cataract of Niagara, 1762

National Army Museum, London

This watercolour is the earliest known view of Niagara Falls made on location, as well as the first accurate study by a trained draughtsman.

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