Entertainment & Arts

Brueghel painting saved by £1m grant

The Procession to Calvary by Pieter Brueghel the Younger
Image caption The painting would have been put up for auction if the target was not met

An Old Master by painter Pieter Brueghel the Younger will remain on public display after a government fund paid £1m to save it for the nation.

The Procession to Calvary, completed in 1602, will remain on show at Nostell Priory in West Yorkshire.

The painting had been put up for sale for £2.7m. A campaign by The Art Fund and National Trust raised £1.7m.

The National Heritage Memorial Fund, which aims to save key historic items, has now stepped in with the final £1m.

The painting depicts Christ carrying the cross on his way to crucifixion and has hung at Nostell Priory, a stately home near Wakefield, for 200 years.

The priory is the family home of Lord St Oswald, who put it up for sale to pay for the restoration of the estate.

He had said he would put it up for auction if the target was not reached by Christmas.

Members of the public donated £680,000 to the campaign, with almost £510,000 coming from trusts and foundations, while The Art Fund gave a further £500,000.

Image caption The painting will go back on display at Nostell Priory from the end of February 2011

Art Fund director Dr Stephen Deuchar said: "Considering the economic climate, this has been a hugely challenging campaign and we are enormously grateful to all our members and supporters who have given so generously.

"Working with the National Trust has been a very fruitful experience, pooling our resources to pull out all the stops and save this remarkable painting for Nostell Priory and its visitors."

Dame Jenny Abramsky, chair of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, said: "The overwhelming public support to help secure this stunning painting has been an inspiration.

"Individual giving combined with ongoing support from government funds such as the National Heritage Memorial Fund will play an increasingly important role in securing our most precious heritage."

The fund's money comes from the Treasury and is intended to be the last resort for saving items of importance to the UK's national heritage.

It has received £10m a year since 2007, but its grant will be halved from this year as a result of government cuts.

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