York & North Yorkshire

Castle Howard antiques donated to nation to pay tax bill

Edward Harley, Chairman of the Acceptance in Lieu Panel and Hon. Nicholas Howard alongside one of the antiquities, a Roman marble figure of a boy riding a goat 2nd, century AD Image copyright ARTS COUNCIL
Image caption Acceptance in Lieu Panel chairman Edward Harley (right) said the collection "has great art-historical importance"

Important Roman artwork belonging to a North Yorkshire stately home has been donated to the nation in lieu of nearly £5.5m owed in inheritance tax.

Among the Castle Howard lot are 62 Roman antiques, including sculptures and figures of god which were collected by Henry Howard, 4th Earl of Carlisle.

A total of 89 items have been allocated to National Museums Liverpool but will remain on display at the house.

They have been acquired through the government's Acceptance in Lieu Scheme.

It allows an inheritance tax bill to be paid by transferring important works of art and cultural objects to the nation.

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Arts Council England said the Castle Howard collection was a "highly important group of Roman sculpture" and an "excellent example" of the collecting practices of British aristocrats of that time.

It includes a second century AD head of the satyr Silenus crowned with ivy leaves and berries and a Roman marble relief figure of a woman playing a tambourine.

Image copyright Mike Kipling
Image caption The collection has been donated in lieu of £5,424,369 owed in inheritance tax

Edward Harley, chairman of the Acceptance in Lieu Panel, said: "The collection has great art-historical and archaeological importance and its continued display at Castle Howard ensures that it will also be able to tell the story of two great eighteenth century collectors."

Castle Howard was designed in 1699 and was the setting for the 1981 TV series Brideshead Revisited.

The house sits in an 8,800-acre estate in the Howardian Hills, near Malton. The estate has more than 200 listed buildings and monuments.

In 2015, Roman antiques and Baroque painting were sold by Castle Howard to help secure the "long term future" of the estate.

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