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Goya Picture (Duke Of Wellington)

Volume 645: debated on Wednesday 2 August 1961

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asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has a statement to make about Goya's portrait of the Duke of Wellington.

Yes. The House will recall that Mr. Charles Wrightsman, who purchased this picture at auction at Sotheby's on June 14th for £140,000, subsequently offered it to the Trustees of the National Gallery for that sum. I am now glad to be able to inform the House that, following an approach by the Government to the Trustees of the Wolfson Foundation, the National Gallery Trustees have received from them the promise of a contribution of £100,000 towards the purchase of this picture, and I have agreed to invite Parliament to approve a special Exchequer grant of £40,000 towards it. Pending the receipt shortly of this contribution from the Wolfson Foundation the whole sum required to enable the National Gallery Trustees to accept Mr. Wrightsman's offer is being advanced from the Civil Contingencies Fund.I would like to take this opportunity of expressing the Government's gratitude to the Wolfson Foundation for the most generous and public spirited bene- faction to the National Gallery Trustees which has made the purchase of this outstanding picture possible. The National Gallery Trustees have asked to be associated with the Government in this expression of gratitude and I am glad to do this. We would also like to express appreciation of Mr. Wrightsman's offer of the picture to the Trustees.The Government have always regarded the purchase of such artistic masterpieces for the nation as being a very suitable matter for partnership between Government action and private benefaction and the prospective purchase of this important and historic Goya portrait on this basis will provide an excellent example of such partnership in action.