Acquisitions round-up: winter 2017

  • 8 December 2017

From a spectacular 18th century painting by Canaletto's nephew to a grand piano commissioned by George IV, here are the objects we've helped museums and galleries acquire in the last three months.

1. Bernardo Bellotto, The Fortress of Königstein from the North, 1756-58

National Gallery, London

The Fortress of Königstein from the North is undoubtedly one of the finest examples of 18th century view paintings. It stands out as a highly evocative and beautiful depiction of a fortified location within an extensive panoramic landscape and has no real parallel in European painting.

2. Unnamed artist, Mostyn Psalter-Hours, 1275-90

British Library, London

This magnificent illuminated manuscript is an extremely rare psalter, produced in London during the reign of Edward I. Made up of 160 folios, the book includes a calendar featuring a sequence of London saints, thereby identifying its place of origin.

3. Various artists, Works of Middle Eastern photography, 1979-2016

British Museum, London

These new works, which join the 37 so far acquired by the Museum, address contemporary issues in the Middle East, including censorship, dictatorship, women's rights and the preservation of cultural heritage. Artists include Jaber Al Azmeh, Jamal Penjweny and Nidhal Chamekh.

4. Various artists and writers, OZ magazine collages and archive, 1942-2013

Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The 42 collages and cover image acquired were made by Martin Sharp for OZ number 16, the Magic Theatre issue of autumn 1968. In a complex visual essay inspired by the Hermann Hesse novel Steppenwolf, the issue reflected the multimedia crosscurrents of the time and juxtaposed images in a startling and provocative way.

Also acquired, is the associated OZ magazine archive, including three boxes of personal papers belonging to Felix Dennis, 16 boxes of documentary papers and two plan chests, containing artwork and layouts for the magazine.

5. Abraham Janssens van Nuyssen, An Allegory of Joy and Melancholy, c1623

Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

The painting shows two figures, with joy represented by the young woman in the foreground and melancholy as the haggard older figure behind.

6. Unknown maker, The Fettercairn Jewel, 1570-80

National Museums Scotland

The Fettercain Jewel is an extremely rare example of Scottish Renaissance art. The oval gold locket is set with a large rectangular almandine garnet and decorated on the reverse with an image of the god Mercury in basse taille enamel.

7. Mrinalini Mukherjee, Night Bloom II, 1999-2000

British Museum, London

Night Bloom II is a partially glazed earthenware sculpture with an anthropomorphic outline suggesting a cross-legged seated figure. The lower half of the sculpture is covered in a lustrous red and blue glaze with the upper half in unglazed greyish brown.

8. Mark Wallinger, Self, 2016

Freud Museum, London

Turner Prize-winning artist Mark Wallinger created the sculpture Self as part of his solo exhibition at the Freud Museum in 2016. The work takes the form of the capital letter I, a three-dimensional reference to Freud's exploration of the individual and the formation of the id, ego and superego.

9. Steffen Dam, Specimens from an Imaginary Voyage, 2017

Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery, Exeter

Specimens from an Imaginary Voyage is a series of 16 clear and coloured glass jars containing fictional sea-life organisms and made using special grinding techniques.

10. John Nash, A series of 15 hand-coloured proofs for The Natural History of Selborne, 1970

Gilbert White's House and the Oates Museum, Selborne

These 15 illustrations for the 1972 edition of Gilbert White's The Natural History of Selborne (originally published in 1789) are proof copies hand-tinted in watercolour by the artist John Nash.

11. Thomas Tomkison, Grand piano, c1821

Royal Pavilion and Museums, Brighton

This extravagantly decorated piano was commissioned by George IV and made for the entrance hall of the Royal Pavilion Brighton.

12. Junko Mori, Silver Poetry; Spring Fever Ring, 2014

Temple Newsam House, Leeds

The piece features 31 hand-forged silver components inspired by plants and sea creatures found on the coast of North Wales.

13. Unknown maker, The Binham Bracteate VI, c450-550AD

Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery

This gold bracteate (neck pendant) was found buried together with a fragment of a second gold pendant and a silver brooch at Binham, Norfolk. It features a decorative stamp of a sword-wielding man in battle with a mythological creature.

14. Grete Prytz Kittelsen, Necklace and Domino Ring, 1952

National Museums Scotland

The celebrated Norwegian Modernist designer created this ring and necklace for the youth market of the 1950s. The ring is inspired by domino pieces as well as by a popular song of the time. The necklace, constructed of interlinking sails of silver, shows the influence of the Danish designer Henning Koppel.

15. Elsa Schiaparelli, Courture evening jacket, 1937-38

The Bowes Museum

Designed by the Paris couturier Elsa Schiaparelli for her autumn/winter 1937-38 collection, this blue velvet evening jacket is richly embroidered by the Lesage atelier, with gilt strip, rhinestones and sequins.

16. Joseph Kosuth, Word Family Tree, 2008

Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool

Pioneering American conceptual artist Joseph Kosuth is known for his explorations of language, often in neon works. Word Family Tree adds gravitas and weight to a growing collection of light-based work at the Grundy Art Gallery in Blackpool.

17. Anthony Hawksley, Necklace and earrings, 1958

National Museums Scotland

This suite of necklace and earrings were designed by Hawksley in the late 1950s. Much of his work was inspired by the pioneering silverware of Danish designer Georg Jensen.

18. Keith Vaughan, Burning Fields, 1965

The Fry Art Gallery, Saffron Walden

The artist bought a weekend cottage in Essex in 1964 and painted many landscapes in the area. He was particularly attracted to the effects of fires against dark skies, as seen in Burning Fields.

19. Michael O'Connell, Wall hanging for Mael Fabrics, 1950

Museum of English Rural Life, Reading

This vibrant wall hanging featuring a cockerel is a fine example of the textile designer work. O'Connell made textiles for Heal's and created the wall hangings for the 1951 Festival of Britain.

20. Richard Wilson, Portrait of a Lady (Miss Mary Jenkins?), c1750

National Museum Cardiff

This superb 18th century portrait has recently been attributed to Richard Wilson, a pivotal figure in British art of the period. The identity of the sitter is speculative but is thought to be Miss Mary Jenkins (1731-90) who once owned the painting.

21. Ian Hamilton Finlay, Chrysalis, 1996

Scottish Maritime Museum Trust

This witty, playful and poetic piece is typical of the artist's work, which often refers to Scotland's maritime history. A bronze ship's propeller can be seen trapped inside a bronze crate and a plaque on the plinth alludes to the metamorphosis of pupa into a butterfly and suggests the propeller might evolve into a boat.

22. Unknown artist, Painting on barkcloth of the Titikaveka Church, Rarotonga, Cook Islands, c1842-46

Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Cambridge

This painting from the Cook Islands is a fine example of Polynesian representational art from the colonial period. It is on barkcloth, a material made from soaking and beating the inner bark of trees.

Tags: Art QuarterlyMuseums and galleriesSupporting museumsArt we've helped buy