Chatsworth House to sell £15m Raphael drawing

Drawing titled the Head of a Young Apostle by Raphael Head Of A Young Apostle by Raphael, 1519-20, 375 x 278 mm

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A 500-year-old drawing by Italian painter Raphael, worth between £10-15m, has been put up for sale by the Duke of Devonshire.

The black chalk drawing, Head Of A Young Apostle, has been at Chatsworth House, in Derbyshire, since about 1720.

The Duke said the sale of the Raphael drawing, one of 14 he owns, will benefit the long-term future of Chatsworth and its collections.

Sotheby's said the renaissance piece was of "extraordinary importance".

'Very fortunate'

The work, known as an auxiliary cartoon, was a preparation drawing for a figure in the Raphael masterpiece, Transfiguration.

The piece, which hangs in the Vatican Museum, in Rome, is considered by some experts to be one of the most important Renaissance paintings.

Gregory Rubinstein, Worldwide Head of Old Master Drawings at Sotheby's said: "It is one of the greatest privileges of my career to be handling the sale of a drawing of such extraordinary importance."

The Chatsworth House collection comprises of about 3,000 old master drawings in total, including works by Rubens, Van Dyck and Rembrandt.

The Duke of Devonshire said: "We are very fortunate that the Devonshire Collection has such extraordinary depth in so many areas.

"The sale of this work which our family has long cared for will now benefit the long-term future of Chatsworth and its collections."

The Head Of A Young Apostle will be auctioned on 5 December.

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