Prime ministerial loan

Gordon Brown has approved the first major loan of pictures from Chequers, the British prime minister’s country retreat in Buckinghamshire. This will include a pair of recently-attributed Van Dycks. The portraits of Charles I and his wife Henrietta Maria (shown left with the Admiralty Chest, which belonged to James II) were until recently assumed to be “after Van Dyck”. The late Sir Oliver Millar, formerly Surveyor of the Queen’s Pictures, pronounced them authentic and included them in the 2004 Van Dyck catalogue raisonné. Dating from 1636, their original owner was Prince Rupert, nephew of Charles I. In 1917 they were bought by Lord Lee

of Fareham, who donated Chequers to the nation.

Martin Bailey

o For report, see p4

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