HC Deb 16 June 1959 vol 607 cc18-9W
54. Dr. Stross

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has noted that Adoration of the Magi, by Rubens, may be sold in the near future by auction; and whether he will initiate negotiations with the owners of the painting so as to ensure that it will become available to the nation under the provisions of the Finance Act, 1956.

55. Mr. K. Robinson

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is aware of the imminent sale by auction of Rubens' altarpiece, The Adoration of the Magi, by the executors of the Duke of Westminster's estate; and whether, in view of the National Gallery Trustees' long-standing interest in this work, he will ensure its acquisition for the nation by agreeing to accept it in lieu of death duties under the terms of the Finance Act, 1956, providing the executors withdraw the painting from auction.

Mr. Amory

The executors of the estate in question are aware both of the importance of this picture from the point of view of the national art collection and of the various means by which it might be transferred to the nation. But I cannot, of course, prejudice their freedom of action any more than I can commit the Government about the steps which they may take if the picture is sold by auction.