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£10m Sir Anthony Van Dyck self-portrait to go on display in Birmingham

Appeal to acquire the self-portrait, painted shortly before the Flemish master’s death, is being described as the most successful public fundraising campaign for a work of art in British history

JORGE HERRERA Stephen Deuchar, director of the Art Fund, Dame Jenny Abramsky, Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund, Sandy Nairne, director of the National Portrait Gallery stand next to the Van Dyck self-portrait
Stephen Deuchar, director of the Art Fund, Dame Jenny Abramsky, Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund, Sandy Nairne, director of the National Portrait Gallery stand next to the Van Dyck self-portrait

A Sir Anthony Van Dyck self-portrait saved for the nation thanks to a £10 million appeal will go on show in Birmingham.

The campaign to acquire the self-portrait, painted shortly before the Flemish master’s death, is being described as the most successful public fundraising effort for a work of art in British history.

Around 10,000 people made donations totalling more than £1.44 million in addition to £1.2 million from two private trusts and £1.35 million from the Art Fund and National Portrait Gallery.

The fundraising was completed with a grant of £6,343,500 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

A work of huge international importance, the 1640-41 self-portrait is the last one Van Dyck created. He died within a year of producing it.

The portrait will remain on display at the National Portrait Gallery in London until August 31 before research and conservation work is undertaken. It will then go on a three-year tour of six museums and galleries across the UK from January 2015, exhibiting at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery in 2016.

Van Dyck is buried in the old St Paul’s Cathedral with the epitaph: ‘Anthony Van Dyck – who, while he lived, gave to many immortal life’.

The campaign originally sought to raise £12.5 million to prevent the work from going overseas, but the figure was lowered to £10 million following the withdrawal of the export licence in March 2014.

Stephen Deuchar, Director of the Art Fund, said: “The campaign to save this remarkable painting has stirred up astonishing public support with some 10,000 individuals donating over £1.4 million to the cause – making it one of the most successful appeals of the last 100 years.”

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said: “This is fantastic news. Thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Art Fund and countless donations from individuals and groups, this wonderful picture - a masterpiece by any standards - will be enjoyed, free of charge, in the National Portrait Gallery for many generations to come.”

 
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