Northern Ireland

Ulster Museum gets six Rembrandt works in tax bill deal

An etching by Rembrandt called Six's Bridge Image copyright Darren Kidd/NMNI
Image caption This Rembrandt etching - entitled Six's Bridge - can be seen in the Ulster Museum

A Northern Ireland museum has received six works by Rembrandt as a result of a deal over an outstanding tax bill.

Two of the etchings have been put on display in the Ulster Museum in Belfast, with the other four due to be exhibited at the venue soon.

They date from the 1630s to the 1650s and are the first Rembrandt works to be acquired by a Northern Ireland museum.

The were given to the tax authorities as part of an agreement to settle an inheritance tax bill of over £150,000.

Image copyright Darren Kidd/NMNI
Image caption Acquiring the 17th Century artworks is transformational for the museum, says Kathryn Thomson

A government scheme allows people to settle tax bills by handing over valuable artworks.

Arts Council England received them as a result of the tax settlement and gave them to the Ulster Museum.

The Dutch painter died 350 years ago.

His etchings entitled Six's Bridge and The Adoration Of The Shepherds have been added to the Ulster Museum's Masterpieces of Dutch Landscapes Painting exhibition.

Image copyright Darren Kidd/NMNI
Image caption The Adoration of the Shepherds was one of the works handed over to settle a tax bill

Kathryn Thomson, the chief executive of National Museums Northern Ireland, told PA Media the acquisition of the works was "transformational" for the museum.

"This gift immeasurably transforms the Ulster Museum collection as these are the first works by Rembrandt to enter a public collection in Northern Ireland," she said.

"We are so excited for the opportunity for our visitors from here and further afield to see the work of one of the world's most celebrated artists in Belfast."

The four etchings that have yet to be displayed are:

  • Bearded Man In A Furred Cap And Robe
  • The Artist's Mother
  • The Sleeping Herdsman
  • The Descent From The Cross By Torchlight

Ms Thomson said all six would be on show in an exhibition "dedicated to Rembrandt and his influence on printmaking".

Auctioneers from the firm Christie's were involved in the negotiations that resulted in the artworks being acquired by the tax authorities.

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