Pieter Brueghel's The Procession to Calvary has been saved for the nation thanks to a £1 million grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF).
The painting, which depicts Christ carrying his cross on the way to his crucifixion, was put up for sale by its owner Lord St Oswald last year, meaning that it was at risk of being lost from public view.
This action kick-started an intensive three-month fundraising campaign by the Art Fund and the National Trust to raise the money needed to save Brueghel the Younger’s painting.
The grant ensures that the £2.72 million fundraising total has been achieved and The Procession to Calvary can now be kept on public display at Nostell Priory in West Yorkshire, where it has hung for more than two centuries.
Dr Stephen Deuchar, Director, Art Fund, said: “We have been bowled over by the support and enthusiasm of the public for this quite extraordinary painting, helping us to reach the £2.7 million target. Considering the economic climate, this has been a hugely challenging campaign and we are enormously grateful to all our members and supporters who have given so generously.
“Working with the National Trust has been a very fruitful experience, pooling our resources to pull out all the stops and save this remarkable painting for Nostell Priory and its visitors. As ever, our huge thanks to the NHMF for its major role in bringing this campaign to a truly fantastic close.”
Dame Fiona Reynolds, Director-General, National Trust, said: “This is wonderful news and a marvellous start to the new year with the knowledge that Nostell Priory’s star attraction will stay where it belongs and continue to be enjoyed by visitors.
“We want to thank everyone who has supported this campaign to save The Procession to Calvary, especially the NHMF for enabling us to reach our target today. And our special thanks go to the Art Fund for their generous donation that kick-started the campaign and who have worked tirelessly with us throughout the last three months to secure the future of this wonderful painting.”
The Art Fund kicked off the fundraising appeal with a £500,000 grant of its own. Along with the £1 million from NHMF, over £680,000 has been donated by members of the public - many of whom were Art Fund and National Trust members - and nearly £510,000 has come from trusts and foundations.
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