Duchess of Cambridge views Van Dyck painting as National Portrait Gallery campaign gathers pace

Duchess of Cambridge views Van Dyck portrait
Duchess of Cambridge views Van Dyck portrait

The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, has viewed  Van Dyck’s Self-portrait, a painting that the National Portrait Gallery has so far raised £3.5m to save from being sold abroad.

Duchess of Cambridge views Van Dyck portrait
Duchess of Cambridge views Van Dyck’s Self-portrait

The National Portrait Gallery is feverishly raising funds to save a painting of huge international importance from being sold overseas to a private collection, and a photo of HRH the Duchess of Cambridge viewing the painting is sure to give the campaign a boost.

Van Dyck’s Self Portrait (1640-1), which has been in British hands for almost 400 years, has been sold to a private collector who wishes to take it abroad. However, in November 2013 The National Portrait Gallery was given three months to acquire the painting, priced at £12.5 million, following a temporary government export bar to prevent it from being taken overseas. That export bar expired on 14 February 2014 and has now been extended to 13 July 2014.

Together with the Art Fund, the National Portrait Gallery has so far raised over £3.5 million to save the painting, a figure that includes over 6,000 individual contributions received from supporters both nationally and internationally, and a pledge of £1 million from The Monument Trust, the largest single gift yet given to the campaign.

HRH The Duchess of Cambridge viewed the the Van Dyck Self-portrait on 11 February during a private viewing as part of The Portrait Gala with director Sandy Nairne.

Nairne said: ‘The growing support for the Van Dyck campaign is hugely encouraging. Everyone at the National Portrait Gallery is determined that this great painting should be on public view for the next 400 years.”

Sir Anthony Van Dyck’s last self-portrait is a work of huge international importance and the only portrait of the artist made during his time in Britain ever likely to be made available for acquisition by a British public collection. The gallery, with the support of the Art Fund, plans to display the portrait both at its London home and, from early 2015, at partner museums and galleries around the country.

Born in Antwerp in 1599, Van Dyck came to Britain in 1632 at the invitation of King Charles I, making London his home until his death in 1641. Charles I was Van Dyck’s most famous patron, rewarding him with a knighthood and the title of Principal Painter.

Donations to the National Portrait Gallery’s Save Van Dyck’s Self-portrait appeal can be made online at www.savevandyck.org or you can join the conversation on Twitter using #savevandyck

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