Acceptance in Lieu for British museums 2005-2007


17/08/07 — Acquisitions — United Kingdom, Museums Acceptance in Lieu is the English system which allows payment of inheritance taxes with works of art, an equivalent of the French system of “dation”. Every year, the British Ministry of Culture publishes a list of the works acquired through this method. The one corresponding to April 2006 to March 2007 was published recently.

The system allows for the art to remain ‘in situ’. The ownership is transferred to a museum, but the works may remain on location if they are held in a historical monument (on condition that it is open to the public). This was the case in 2006/2007 for a collection of English portraits, notably some by Joshua Reynolds (see below) at Port Eliot, as well as for the furnishings decorating the picture gallery in Corsham Court, where a painting by Van Dyck, The Betrayal of Christ, given ‘in lieu’ in 1984, remained there while still becoming the property of the museum in Bristol.

In this News article, we present the most important objects acquired thanks to ‘Acceptance in Lieu’ and which fall under the scope of The Art Tribune. We also take into consideration the previous period (2005/2006). On the other hand, we are excluding the Panini painting already treated in an article when it entered the National Gallery (see News of October 24, 2006).

1. Ascribed to Carlo Portelli (before 1510-1574)
The Charity of
St Nicholas of Bari

Oil on panel - 75 x 112 cm
United Kingdom, National collections,
Allocation yet to be decided
Photo : National Gallery, London



- The Charity of Saint Nicholas of Bari (ill. 1) is attributed to Carlo Portelli, a Florentine artist of the XVIth C. and student of Ridolfo Ghirlandaio. This painting belonged to Lucien Bonaparte. It was entrusted on a temporary basis to the National Gallery in London, but has not yet been assigned definitely to the museum. Its estimated value is of £210,000.

2. Palma Vecchio (c. 1480-1528)
The Holy Family with St Jerome,
St Justina, St Ursula
and St Bernardino of Siena

Oil on canvas - 109 x 157 cm
Gwynned (Wales), Penrhyn Castle

3. Willem van de
Velde (1633-1707)
Shipping in a Calm
Oil on panel - 34 x 40 cm
Gwynned (Pays de Galles), Penrhyn Castle


- Penrhyn Castle in Wales belongs to the National Trust but some of the objects displayed there are still the property of the Pennant family who owned the castle previously. The Burgher of Delft and his Daughters, acquired by the Rijksmuseum in 2004 and the Portrait of Catrina Hooghsaet currently up for sale come from there.
However, some of the works were acquired in 2005 and will remain in the collections. It is the case particularly for an important painting by Palma Vecchio (ill. 2), a Marine by Willem van de Welde (ill. 3) and a portrait by Allan Ramsay (ill. 4). Two anonymous English portraits of the XVIIth C., a portrait by Georges Romney (Richard Pennant), a John the Baptist Preaching to Herod by the English painter John Rogers Herbert (1810-1890) and three watercolors by Carl Haag (1820-1915) representing respectively Palmyra, Baalbeck and The Acropolis are also part of this ‘in lieu’ transaction (for a total amount of £3,083,349), but we do not have pictures of them.

4. Allan Ramsay (1713-1784)
Portrait of
Viscount Milsington

Oil on canvas - 124 x 99 cm
Gwynned (Wales), Penrhyn Castle

5. Nicolas Hilliard (c. 1547-1619)
Portrait of Sir Francis Bacon, 1578
Miniature on vellum - 7,5 x 6,2 cm
London, National Portrait Gallery


- Two portraits by the famous miniature painter Nicolas Hillard were acquired through this method (£490,000) in late 2005 and assigned respectively to the Portrait Gallery in London and the one in Edinburgh. The first (ill. 5) representing the philosopher Francis Bacon (1561-1626) was painted during Bacon’s stay in France while accompanying the English ambassador Amias Paulet. The second (ill. 6) probably represents Robert Devereux (1565-1601), one of Queen Elizabeth’s favorites at court. Another miniature depicting the same model is held at the Metropolitan Museum.

6. Nicolas Hilliard (c. 1547-1619)
Presumed Portrait of Robert Devereux
Miniature on vellum - High : 4.4 cm
Edinburgh, Scottish National Portrait Gallery

7. Benedetto Gennari (1633-1713)
Portrait of Elizabeth Murray
Oil on canvas - 123 x 100 cm
Edinburgh, Scottish National Portrait Gallery


- A portrait by Benedetto Gennari (ill. 7) was included in a ‘in lieu’ payment and also allocated to the National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh. The model, Elizabeth Murray, was married to John Maitland, Duke of Lauderdale, appointed regent of Scotland by Charles II. Concerning Gennari’s stay in England, see News of September 28, 2004.
There are fifteen other Scottish portraits with the same provenance but of lesser value in this transaction which will remain at their home in Paxton House with the exception of three works by Henry Raeburn (ill. 8 and 9).

8. Henry Raeburn (1756-1823)
Portrait of Grace Milne
Oil on canvas
Berwick upon Tweed, Paxton House

9. Henry Raeburn (1756-1823)
Portrait of the Admiral Sir David Milne
Oil on canvas
Berwick upon Tweed, Paxton House


- The York Art Gallery had a landscape by Meindert Hobbema (ill. 10) on loan for several years from a private collection. Since November 2005 it has become the permanent property of the museum (total amount of the ‘in lieu’ payment : £560,000).

10. Meindert Hobbema (1638-1709)
Wooded Landscape with a Cottage and Peasants on a Road
Oil on panel - 52.1 x 67.3 cm
York, Art Gallery



- A pastel by Rosalba Carriera representing Lewis Watson (ill. 11) was acquired in 2006. This portrait was executed during Watson’s Grand Tour when stopping in Venice in 1734. It was assigned to the museum in Northampton as it already owns a collection of Venetian paintings of the XVIIth and XVIIIth CC. The total of this ‘Acceptance in Lieu’ transaction is of £87,500.

11. Rosalba Carriera
Portrait of Lewis Watson
Pastel - 55.9 x 45.7 cm
Northampton, Museum and Art Gallery

12. Jean-Etienne Liotard (1702-1789)
Portrait of Laura Tarsi in a turkish costume, 1741
Watercolour and gouache on ivory - 9.9 x 7.6 cm
Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum


- As in the case of the previous pastel, the miniature by Jean-Etienne Liotard, depicting a young woman in a Turkish costume (ill. 12) was painted during the Grand Tour of its patron, John Manners, Marquis of Granby (1721-1770). Although the model’s name, Laura Tarsi, is known, it is unclear who she was exactly. She appears in two other portraits by Liotard (Saint Petersburg, Hermitage and Stockholm, National Museum). This miniature is now a part of the Fitzwilliam Museum since end of 2005 thanks to an ‘Acceptance in Lieu’ (£ 350,000).

13. Francis Hayman (1708-1776)
Double Portrait of Mr and Mrs John Badger Weller
Oil on canvas - 80 x 71.1 cm
National collections,
Allocation yet to be decided

14. Arthur Devis (1712-1787)
Double Portrait of Alicia and Jane Clarke in a Wooden Landscape
Oil on canvas - 91.5 x 71 cm
National collections,
Allocation yet to be decided


15. Richard Wilson (1713-1782)
Cicéro and his two friends, Atticus et Quintus, at his villa at Arpinum
Oil on canvas - 91.8 x 129.5 cm
United Kingdom, National collections,
Allocation not yet decided



- The four paintings pictured below and included in the same transaction in March 2007 (for an equivalent of £773,500) have not yet been assigned to any museum. The first (ill. 13) is by Francis Hayman one of whose more important works had been acquired by the Tate Gallery in 2006. The second is a Conversation Piece (ill. 14) by Arthur Devis, a painter known almost exclusively for this typical English genre.
A canvas by Richard Wilson (ill. 15) illustrates England’s interest in Claude Lorrain and Nicolas Poussin, as this painting is almost a pastiche of a landscape by the latter of the two. Finally, the fouth painting (ill. 16) by Thomas Daniell, represents a British colonization scene in India at the end of the XVIIIth C.

16. Thomas Daniell (1749-1840)
Sir Charles Warre Malet concluding a
Treaty in 1790 in Durbar with the Peshwa of
the Maratha Empire

Oil on canvas - 181 x 279.4 cm
United Kingdom, National collections,
Allocation not yet decided

17. Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792)
Portrait of Captain Hugh Bonfoy
Oil on canvas - 124.5 x 99.1 cm
Plymouth, Penrhyn Castle
on loan at St Germans, Port Eliot House


- Port Eliot House in Cornwall is located near Joshua Reynold’s birthplace and its owners were lifelong patrons. The manor house still contains several portraits some of which have been acquired by ‘Acceptance in Lieu’ for the museum in Plymouth which will leave the works in the place for which they were commissioned. This acquisition will allow the property to open its doors to the public for the first time. Besides the 14 portraits by Reynolds (one is only ‘attributed’ to him) (ill. 17-23) there are also portraits by David Beck (1621-1656), John Ellys (1701-1757), Michael Dahl (1659-1743), Benjamin Wilson (1721-1788) and John Hopper (1758-1810) as well as by George Romney and Thomas Lawrence, for which unfortunately do not have pictures. The total amount of this ‘in lieu’ is of £2,154,339.

18. Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792)
Portrait of Anne Bonfoy
Oil on canvas - 124.5 x 100.3 cm
Plymouth, Penrhyn Castle
on loan at St Germans, Port Eliot House

19. Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792)
Portrait of Charles, Lord Brome
Oil on canvas - 124.5 x 99.1 cm
Plymouth, Penrhyn Castle,
on loan at St Germans, Port Eliot House


20. Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792)
Portrait of Harriot Eliot
Oil on canvas - 124.5 x 99.1 cm
Plymouth, Penrhyn Castle
on loan at St Germans, Port Eliot House

21. Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792)
Portrait of Jemima, Marchioness Cornwallis and her son
Oil on canvas - 125.7 x 100.3 cm
Plymouth, Penrhyn Castle,
on loan at St Germans, Port Eliot House


22. Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792)
Hope Nursing Love
Oil on canvas - 125.7 x 199.1 cm
Plymouth, Penrhyn Castle,
on loan at St Germans, Port Eliot House

23. Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792)
Group Portrait of Richard Eliot and Family
Oil on canvas - 85.1 x 111.8 cm
Plymouth, Penrhyn Castle,
on loan atSt Germans, Port Eliot House


24. Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788)
Portrait of John Vere - Portrait of Mary Vere, Wife of John Vere
Oil on canvas - 76.2 x 63.4 cm each
Sudbury, Gainsborough’s House

- Gainsborough’s House is located in Sudbury, Suffolk where he was born. Five portraits painted while he was still a young artist were on loan to the museum and have just been included in ‘Acceptance in Lieu’ payment in 2006 (£203,000). Besides the two figures reproduced above (ill. 24), the others represent Thomas Vere, Nathaniel Acton and his wife Caroline Acton.


25. Richard Parkes Bonington (1801-1828)
La Ferté : an estuary in northern France, c. 1824
Oil on panel - 16.5 x 28 cm
United Kingdom, National collections,
Allocation not yet decided



- Although the landscape by Richard Parkes Bonington (ill. 25) has been included in payment (as has the one by Carlo Portelli) for an equivalent of £245,000 with the wish that it enter the National Gallery in London, the latter has not yet been assigned to a museum. The place represented has not been identified.

26. John Mallord William Turner (1775-1851)
The Roman Forum, 1818
Watercolour - 13.9 x 21.6 cm
Manchester, The Whitworth Art Gallery, University of Manchester
Photo : The Whitworth Art Gallery


- Turner is among the artists most frequently found every year in ‘Acceptance in Lieu’ transactions. Thus, several watercolors have been acquired for English museums. That of the University of Manchester, The Whitworth Art Gallery, received three in 2005 (ill. 26 to 28). Their total value is estimated at £650,000 and although the tax owed was of only £420,000, the museum did not have to provide the difference as the owner generously renounced his right to it.

27. John Mallord William Turner (1775-1851)
Orfordness, c. 1827-1830
Watercolour and gouache - 16.5 x 25.4 cm
Manchester, The Whitworth Art Gallery, University of Manchester
Photo : The Whitworth Art Gallery

28. John Mallord William Turner (1775-1851)
Lake Lucerne, sunset, 1845
Watercolour - 29.2 x 47.7 cm
Manchester, The Whitworth Art Gallery, University of Manchester
Photo : The Whitworth Art Gallery


29. John Mallord William Turner (1775-1851)
Naples from the Mole, 1818
Watercolour - 14 x 21.3 cm
Liverpool, National Museum

30. John Mallord William Turner (1775-1851)
Saint-Florent-le-Vieil, 1826
Watercolour - 13.7 x 18.5 cm
Oxford, Ashmolean Museum


The two other watercolors by Turner which joined the British collections were views of Naples (ill. 29) and Saint-Florent-le-Vieil (ill. 30) which were assigned respectively in 2006 to Liverpool (£105,000) and Oxford (£122,500).

- Several prints by Rembrandt (The Negress Lying Down, Christ Returning from the Temple with His Parents, The Windmill) and Goya (three work proofs for Los Caprichos) were acquired thanks to ‘Acceptance in Lieu’ payments for the British collections in February 2007 and have been temporarily entrusted to the British Museum while awaiting a permanent home. These were accompanied by an original plate by Rembrandt (for The Negress Lying Down) and a red chalk drawing by Goya (ill. 31), a portrait of the XVIIth C. Sevillian sculptor Pedro Roldan. This drawing is one in a series of portraits of Spanish artists by Goya commissioned to illustrate the Diccionario de los mas ilustres profesores de las Bellas Artes published in 1800-2-. The total of this ‘Acceptance in Lieu’ (from the estate of Enriqueta Harris, a Goya specialist who passed away in 2006 at the age of 95) was estimated at £521,500.

31. Francisco Goya (1746-1828)
Portrait of Pedro Roldán, 1798-1799
Red chalk - 27.2 x 19 cm
United kingdom, National collections,
Allocation not yet decided



- A watercolour by Samuel Palmer (ill. 32) was turned over in 2006 after acquisition by ‘Acceptance in Lieu’ (£455,000) to the Ashmolean Museum which already owns a large number of works by this artist.

32. Samuel Palmer (1805-1881)
Yellow twilight
Watercolour - 16 x 27 cm
Oxford, Ashmolean Museum



- The Fitzwilliam Museum acquired through ‘Acceptance in Lieu’ a very important portrait by John Everett Millais (ill. 33) representing the twin sisters Kate Edith Hoare (1856-1948) and Grace Maude Hoare (1857-1946). It comes from the estate of Grace’s granddaughter. Thanks to the generosity of the heirs the museum was able to secure the work although its value far exceeds the tax amount that was owed (£595,568).

33. John Everett Millais (1829-1896)
Twins, 1876
Oil on canvas - 153.5 x 113.7 cm
Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum
Photo : The Fitzwilliam Museum



- Writer, ornithologist and great traveller, Edward Lear is one of the most eclectic XIXth C. English painters and close to the Pre-Raphaelite movement. Jerusalem (ill. 34) was acquired through ‘Acceptance in Lieu’ by the Ashmolean Museum. On the left side of the canvas one sees the Mount of Olives with the city in the background on the right. Although it represents simply a mountainous landscape with shepherds and goats, it is imbued with a definite religious feeling if only because of the significance of the biblical spot.

34. Edward Lear (1812-1888)
Jerusalem, 1865
Oil on canvas - 81 x 161.6 cm
Oxford, Ashmolean Museum
Photo : Ashmolean Museum



- The City Art Gallery in Leeds was able to enrich its collection in 2006 after acquiring a curious Symbolist painting, Valley of Shadows (ill. 35) (Acceptance in Lieu of £320,000), by Evelyn de Morgan who was the wife of William Morgan the ceramics artist and friend of William Morris. The couple believed in spiritualism and practiced ’automatic writing", which was supposed to help in communicating with the spirits. The work is a complex allegory but the inscription on the lower right-hand side provides some clues : “Dark is the Valley of Shadows/ Empty the Power of Kings/ Blind the Favour of Fortune/ Hungry the Caverns of Death/ Dim is the light of Beyond/ Unanswered the Riddle of Life."

35. Evelyn de Morgan (1855-1919)
Valley of Shadows, 1899
Oil on canvas - 118.1 x 193 cm
Leeds, City Art Gallery



- The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, one of the major beneficiaries of ‘Acceptance in Lieu’ transactions, has also received an ensemble of paintings, drawings and engravings from the end of the XIXth C., among which, works by Paul Sérusier, Albert Marquet, Paul Klee, André Masson and Wassily Kandinsky (ill. 36).

36. Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944)
Wanderschleier, 1930
Watercolour - 52.7 x 69.2 cm
Oxford, Ashmolean Museum

Let us conclude by pointing out that among some of the other art works going to British museums thanks to ‘Acceptance in Lieu’ during this period there is also a Picasso print, La Femme qui pleure, as well as manuscripts and various archive documents, a Stradivarius violin, Chinese works, a porcelaine collection, silver…The full list can be seen and downloaded at this website/@id=4332&Section[@stateId_eq_selected]/@id=4370].

Version française


Didier Rykner, dimanche 26 août 2007



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