AN Old Master painting has been saved for the nation after a campaign raised £2.72m to buy it, the Art Fund and the National Trust said.
Members of the public contributed more than £680,000 to the fund to buy the Procession to Calvary by Pieter Brueghel the Younger, which has hung in Nostell Priory, West Yorkshire, for more than 200 years.
The artwork is a major draw for visitors to the stately home which has been owned by the National Trust since 1954.
But the painting remained the property of Lord St Oswald, and was put up for sale – with the risk it would disappear from public view – prompting the bid to buy it for the nation.
The Old Master was secured with news the National Heritage Memorial Fund, which aims to save some of the most outstanding parts of the nation’s heritage, was providing a grant of £1,034,000 to help reach the £2.7m fundraising target.
The three-month campaign was kick-started with a £500,000 grant from the Art Fund and also secured £510,000 from trusts and foundations, as well as the £680,000 from members of the public, who included many Art Fund and National Trust members.
The success of the fundraising campaign means the Procession to Calvary can remain on display at Nostell Priory.
The painting, completed in 1602, is among Brueghel the Younger’s finest works and shows Christ carrying the cross through a Flemish landscape to the site of his crucifixion, surrounded by more than 200 figures including peasants, children, animals, gentry and soldiers.