Tate misses out on a Van Dyck portrait of Lucy Percy

Van Dyke painting withdrawn from sale at Christie's.


The Tate Gallery has failed to acquire a stunning Van Dyck portrait of Lucy Percy, which was withdrawn from Christie’s. It had originally been due to come up on 8 July 1998, gracing the catalogue cover as the star lot in the Wentworth Woodhouse sale. Christie’s had not published an estimate, but it was thought that the Van Dyck would fetch around £3 million. The portrait has been in the sitter’s family since it was painted in 1638 and the vendor was The Olive, Countess Fitzwilliam Chattels Settlement, a trust whose beneficiaries are Lady Juliet Tadgell (a patron of the Tate) and her daughter. Shortly before the sale, the Van Dyck was withdrawn, following suggestions from the Tate, and the work was offered to the nation in lieu of inheritance tax. There were then prolonged discussions on the valuation between the owner’s representative and the Acceptance in Lieu panel, but these recently broke down. The Van Dyck is now expected to stay with the family. Meanwhile, we can reveal that the new chairman of the Acceptance in Lieu panel will be Mr Jonathan Scott, who is expected take over from Sir Jack Baer in the next few weeks (The Art Newspaper, No.99, January 2000, p.5). Mr Scott is a former secretary of the Export Reviewing Committee and is a now deputy chairman of the Victoria and Albert Museum. Earlier this year it was confirmed that the Acceptance in Lieu panel will continue to remain under the Museums & Galleries Commission’s successor, now renamed Resource, although the new body will “review the effectiveness and scope of the current arrangements and consider how these tasks might be carried out in the future.”


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