Mystery buyer saves Gainsborough

NEITHER Christie's nor the Royal Holloway College was yesterday able to confirm rumours from several sources that a private collector has bought a Gainsborough that was to have been sold at auction in December.

It is believed that a British businessman has offered pounds 3.5m for Peasants Going to Market - pounds 1m more than many expected it to fetch at auction.

It is also understood that the buyer has agreed to share the painting's display between the college, in Surrey, and various British public galleries. This would be welcomed by the many who have bitterly criticised the college for ignoring the wishes of the college's founder, the Victorian philanthropist Thomas Holloway. The Gainsborough was bought for the college in 1883.

A spokesman for the Museums and Galleries Commission said: 'While we deplore the sale of works of art by a public institution, against the wishes of a benefactor, we are relieved a British businessman has stepped forward to save the picture for the nation.'

The buyer is said to insist on anonymity. However, a spokesman for the college said: 'We have nothing to say. When we have . . . we will be in touch. At the moment, it is down for auction at Christie's' Christie's also insisted that the sale is still scheduled for December.

The Gainsborough is the second of three pictures that the college is selling to raise funds for the restoration and upkeep of the college's Grade I listed Founder's Building in Egham, Surrey.

Last February, it sold Turner's Van Tromp Going About to Please His Masters, Ships at Sea, Getting a Good Wetting. It went to the Getty Museum in California for a record pounds 11m. A Constable is also earmarked for sale.

One opponent of the sales said that in 1990, the college asked the Charity Commission to allow sales of three pictures, to raise at least pounds 15m. Through selling two pictures, he explained, they have raised pounds 14.5m. 'For them to go ahead and sell the third picture, having raised almost that sum, is a scandal. When they have sold the Constable, they will still need more . . . This is a terrible breach of trust.'

Only 4 per cent of the 6,500 items sold through Sotheby's by the Princess von Thurn und Taxis at Schloss St Emmeram, Regensburg, Germany, failed to sell. The sale totalled DM 31.4m ( pounds 12.87m), twice the amount expected. The most expensive item was a painting by Olga Wisinger-Florian, an Austrian Impressionist, which made pounds 139,113 (estimate pounds 12,000- pounds 18,000).

The winner of the pounds 20,000 John Moores Liverpool biennial open art prize is Peter Doig, 34.

(Photograph omitted)

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Sport
Robin van Persie leaves the field at the King Power Stadium last Sunday
football
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch as John Watson and Sherlock Holmes in Sherlock
tv

Co-creator Mark Gatiss dropped some very intriguing hints ahead of the BBC drama's return next year

News
In this photo illustration, the Twitter logo and hashtag '#Ring!' is displayed on a mobile device as the company announced its initial public offering and debut on the New York Stock Exchange on November 7, 2013 in London, England. Twitter went public on the NYSE opening at USD 26 per share, valuing the company's worth at an estimated USD 18 billion.
news

News
people

London 'needs affordable housing'

Arts and Entertainment
music Band accidentally drops four-letter description at concert
Life and Style
tech
News
peopleIan Thorpe addresses Ricky Martin rumours
Arts and Entertainment
'Africa' will be Angelina Jolie's fifth film as a director
film

Mr and Mrs Smith star admits she's 'never been comfortable on-screen'

Arts and Entertainment
Australia singer Iggy Azalea has been attacked by Eminem in a new rap
music

Singer was ordered not to 'blow her rape whistle' in song 'Vegas'

Extras
indybest
News
Myleene Klass
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Commercial Property Surveyor

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the leading firms of Cha...

Recruitment Genius: Female Companions / Personal Assistants - Perm and Bank

£9 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: We are currently recruiting for a care ...

Recruitment Genius: Groundworker

£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Ground-worker required for an e...

Randstad Education Cardiff: Maths Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: We are currently recruiting f...

Day In a Page

US immigration: President Obama ready to press ahead with long-promised plan to overhaul 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?

Immigration: Obama's final frontier

The President is ready to press ahead with the long-promised plan to overhaul America's 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?
Bill Cosby rape allegations explained: Why are these allegations coming out now? Why didn’t these women come forward earlier? And why has nobody taken legal action?

Bill Cosby rape allegations explained

Why are these allegations coming out now? Why has nobody taken legal action? And what happens next for the man once thought of as 'America's Dad'
Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain

You know that headache you’ve got?

Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain
Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?

Scoot commute

Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?
Paul Robeson: The story of how an American icon was driven to death to be told in film

The Paul Robeson story

How an American icon was driven to death to be told in film
10 best satellite navigation systems

Never get lost again: 10 best satellite navigation systems

Keep your vehicle going in the right direction with a clever device
Paul Scholes column: England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil

Paul Scholes column

England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win says defender as he prepares to return with Hull

Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win

Hull defender faces his struggling former club on Sunday ready to show what they are missing. But he says he will always be grateful to Tottenham
Frank Warren column: Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game

Frank Warren column

Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game
Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

'How do you carry on? You have to...'

The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

Sir John Major hits out at theatres

Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

Kicking Barbie's butt

How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines