ONE of “the great masterpieces of British art” has been saved for the nation in a deal that will see it go on show across the country.
Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows by John Constable has been bought for £23.1m in a deal arranged by the Tate.
The deal, with the family of the late Lord Ashton of Hyde, includes tax concessions that make it equivalent to an open market sale of £40m.
Tate director Nicholas Serota said: “Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows is one of the great masterpieces of British art. I am extremely grateful to the owners who have worked with us while we have raised the funds to ensure the painting remains in the UK.”
A grant of £15.8m from the Heritage Lottery Fund was central to the sale of the landscape work.
The acquisition is part of a partnership between the Tate and five other galleries – the National Museum of Wales, the National Galleries of Scotland, Colchester and Ipswich Museums and the Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum – who will all exhibit the work.
Jenny Abramsky, who chairs the fund, said the “substantial” investment was a recognition of the painting’s status as a “precious and quintessentially British heritage icon”.
She said: “It is unimaginable that this particular painting might have ended up anywhere other than a UK public collection”.
The 1831 painting has been on loan to the National Gallery in London for the past 30 years.