The National Gallery in London has bought Raphael’s “Madonna of the pinks” from the Duke of Northumberland for £22 million, £1 million higher than the gallery’s earlier “matching” offer. The Duke had originally argued that to equal the Getty Museum’s offer of £34.9 million, the price with tax concessions for a UK institution should be £29 million. The matter then went to the Department of Culture which encouraged the two sides to negotiate. Since last October there have been prolonged discussions and the deadlock was finally broken after the Duke and Dr Saumarez Smith lunched together at Syon House. The National Gallery was able to raise the additional £1 million with the help of a substantial donation from Sir Christopher Ondaatje, who is a major patron of the National Portrait Gallery (which Dr Saumarez Smith headed until 2002). Last July the Heritage Lottery Fund agreed to award £11.5 million, making the Raphael purchase viable. The rest of the money was raised from the gallery’s Sir Paul Getty endowment and other donors, including the National Art Collections Fund. On 9 February, when it was clear that agreement between the Duke and the National Gallery was close, the Getty withdrew its export licence application.
Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'London secures Raphael'