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.

It had been on loan to the Fitzwilliam from the Duke of Sutherland since 1958, but was consigned for sale at Christie's in 1975. 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 subsequently recommended that an export licence should be withheld for three months, but no financial aid was forthcoming from the Government and there seemed little chance of the Fitzwilliam being able to raise the sum needed to buy the picture. It was only an anonymous donation of £ 100,000 at a late stage in the campaign that enabled the Fitzwilliam, with the help of a month's extension granted by the Reviewing Committee to raise the purchase price.

Provenance

Imported into England circa 1790 by Bradshaw Pearson; 3rd Duke of Bridgewater; by descent; Trustees of the Ellesmere 1939 Settlement, Christie's.


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