HC Deb 30 October 1884 vol 293 c515

asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, If he has sanctioned the purchase, by the Trustees of the National Gallery, of a picture by Raphael for the very large sum of £70,000, and a picture by Vandyck for the sum of £17,000; and, if so, whether he can inform the House what steps were taken by the Trustees of the National Gallery and himself to ascertain the supposed value of these pictures; and, if he can lay upon the Table any Papers on the subject?


In reply to the right hon. Gentleman, I have to say that this matter has not been treated as a Treasury question, but, as in the case of the purchase of the Ashburnham Manuscripts, as one that demanded the consideration of the Government generally. Her Majesty's Government have sanctioned the purchase by the National Gallery Trustees, for £87,500, of two pictures—the "Ansidei Madonna," by Raphael, and the Equestrian portrait of Charles I., by Vandyck, now in the Blenheim Collection. The agreement to purchase the pictures is subject to a Vote by the House for the amount being obtained in the Session of 1885, and the Vote will be asked for in the Supplementary Estimates introduced in February next. At the same time, full particulars of the grounds upon which the purchase was sanctioned by Her Majesty's Government will be given in a Parliamentary Paper.