George Stubbs kangaroo and dingo paintings to stay in UK after £1.5m donation
Sir David Attenborough was delighted by the news
Nick Clark is the arts correspondent of The Independent. He joined the newspaper in June 2007, initially reporting on the stock markets. He has covered beats including the City, and technology, media and telecoms and made the switch to arts in December 2011. He has also contributed articles to the sports section.
Wednesday 06 November 2013
Two "vitally important" paintings by George Stubbs, the first depictions of a kangaroo and a dingo in Western art, have been saved for the nation after a wealthy shipping magnate stepped in.
The National Maritime Museum this morning revealed that a £1.5m donation from the Eyal Ofer Family Foundation allowed them to buy Stubbs's "Kongouro from New Holland" and "Portrait of a Large Dog".
The museum described the paintings, which first went on display in London in 1773 and have been in the UK ever since, as "vitally important visual records of Captain James Cook's first epic Endeavour voyage of discovery".
They were in private hands until 2012 when they were sold to an overseas buyer. An export bar was placed on them both because of their significance to British history and culture, and an appeal was launched to save them for the nation.
Sir David Attenborough said: "Exciting news that these two pictures, so important in the history of zoological discovery, are to remain where they were commissioned and painted."
The donation from Ofer's foundation was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Monument Trust, the Art Fund and public donations.
Ofer said: "My family has a long connection with this great maritime institution and these paintings are a landmark in Britain's history of maritime exploration and Captain Cook's voyages. I look forward to seeing them being discovered, enjoyed and studied by as wide a public audience as possible."
The paintings will now be a permanent part of the National Maritime Museum collection. In a statement, a spokesman said they would be "central" to the museum's commemoration of the 250th anniversary of Cook's Endeavour voyage in 2018.
George Stubbs's painting of a dingo, called "Portrait Of A Large Dog" will stay in the country after enough money was raised to keep it
GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival
TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride
FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 School kitchen manager 'fired from Colorado school for giving hungry students free lunches'
- 2 California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
- 3 Amber Peat: Body found in search for missing 13-year-old who left house after argument with her parents
- 4 Gay teenager 'forced to have sex with his own mother' to 'cure' his homosexuality, campaigners in India say
- 5 Charles Kennedy 'had better judgement drunk than many sober politicians' says Ian Hislop
Game of Thrones season 6: George RR Martin doing 'anything he can' to get new book The Winds of Winter out before next HBO series airs
Game of Thrones, Battle of Hardhome: 20-minute Wildlings versus White Walkers battle took a 'solid month' to film
Game of Thrones season 5 episode 9, The Dance of Dragons: Jon Snow returns to The Wall after epic Battle of Hardhome
Touch-screen Teletubbies say hello: Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po are back, now with smart technology
Black Angel: Long lost Star Wars precursor to be made into crowdfunded feature film
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Church of England 'one generation away from extinction' after dramatic loss of followers