§ Mr. Elliot
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland to make a statement about recent acquisitions by the National Gallery of Scotland.
§ Mr. J. Stuart:
The Trustees of the National Gallery of Scotland learned last month that Sir Francis Cook and the Trustees of the Cook Collection were willing to sell the Velasquez painting "The Old Woman," which forms part of that collection. It was recognised that it was of the highest national importance that this picture, which is one of the very few paintings by Velasquez still in private ownership, should remain in this country, and the Trustees accordingly decided to seek Exchequer help towards its purchase.
The price of the picture is£57,000. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has agreed, subject to the approval of Parliament, to make an Exchequer grant of£25,000 towards this sum. The National Art Collections Fund have generously offered to contribute£5,000, and the remainder will be contributed by the Trustees from their own resources. A Supplementary Estimate will be laid before the House as soon as possible.