The Tate has acquired the Rubens oil sketch for the Whitehall ceiling, but we can reveal it was a very close result. By September the gallery had raised nearly £5.4m, but needed £6m to buy the work from Viscount Hampden. In a last-minute gesture of goodwill, he reduced the price by £300,000, to £5.7m. The Art Fund, which had already contributed £500,000, gave a further £100,000. The National Heritage Memorial Fund, which committed £2m last July, met again on 30 September, the deadline for the purchase. NHMF officers had recommended that a request for an additional £221,000 should be rejected, but the trustees approved the application. The painting will continue to hang in room one at Tate Britain until it goes into the “Van Dyck in Britain” exhibition, which opens on 18 February.
Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Tate secures Rubens oil sketch…just'