Diana and Actaeon by Titian still not acquired by London and Edinburgh


Tiziano Vecellio, called le Titien (1489/1490-1576)
Diana and Actaeon, 1556-1559
Oil on canvas - 184.5 x 202.2 cm
Collection of the Duke of Sutherland, in depot
at the National Gallery of Scotland
Photo : National Gallery of Scotland

28/1/09 – Museums – Edinburgh, National Gallery of Scotland and London, National Gallery – The deadline for the combined purchase by the National Gallery of Scotland and that of London of Titian’s painting, Diana and Actaeon, was up last 31 December (see news item of 28/8/08). However, according to information found in the English press, it would seem that the 50 million pounds requested by the Duke of Sutherland for this first canvas has been in fact raised, notably thanks to a major contribution by the Scottish government. Let us remember that its pair, Diana and Calisto, is to be acquired for the same amount four years from now.

Nevertheless, according to The Art Newspaper, the duke seems to have reconsidered his promise to leave the remainder of the Bridgewater collection on deposit in Edinburgh for 21 years, stating that he wished to continue selling in case of “exceptional circumstances”. It is true that with 100 million pounds, he may at times find it hard to make it to the end of the month... Moreover, and still in The Art Newspaper, the purchase of the second painting raises some tax problems which will have to be resolved before a final agreement can be signed for both canvases.

These two acquisitions have essentially mobilized all of the resources for British museums, making it difficult to proceed with any other major purchases. Thus, it is highly likely that, following the recent export from the United Kingdom of many objects which had been temporarily banned, the View of Alexander Pope’s Villa in Twickenham by Turner, will also find its new home outside of the British Isles (see news item of 14/12/08).

Version française


Didier Rykner, mercredi 28 janvier 2009



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