The Ashmolean has raised the money needed to acquire a major painting by JMW Turner. Local people and museum visitors have sent in over £60,000, helping the Museum reach its fundraising target in just four weeks. Thank you to everyone who has supported the campaign.
The Ashmolean still needs your support, so please keep giving to this year’s Appeal to support conservation, collection display and education programmes throughout the Museum.
The High Street, Oxford (1810), which has been on loan to the Museum from a private collection since 1997, is Turner's only full size townscape in oils. Over the summer, the painting will remain on display in the Welcome Space on the Museum’s ground floor, and twelve full-size reproductions will also be installed around the city.
A photography competition is also now open and we want to know what your personal view of Oxford looks like. Capture your view of Oxford on camera and share it with us on social media to be in with a chance of winning a variety of prizes, and for your image to go on display at the Ashmolean Museum later this year. Click on the button below to find out more.
The painting is on display in the Ashmolean's Welcome Gallery, on the Ground Floor.
Dr Alexander Sturgis, Director of the Ashmolean: “The Museum has been overwhelmed by public support. With well over 800 people contributing to the appeal, it is clear that the local community, as well as visitors to the Museum from across the world, feel that this picture, the greatest painting of the city ever made, must remain on show in a public museum in Oxford.
“We are so grateful to the members of the public who have made donations; to the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Art Fund; and to the Friends and Patrons of the Museum. There are big plans for the painting once we acquire it. It will be lent to regional museums so as many people as possible from the surrounding area will be able to see it; it will be at the heart of a new series of educational activities for schools and young people; and, not least, it will have pride of place in the Museum’s Nineteenth Century Gallery which will be refurbished and reopened in early 2016.”
The painting, which has been on loan to the Museum from a private collection since 1997, has been offered to the nation in lieu of inheritance tax. The High Street, Oxford would settle £3.5 million of inheritance tax – which is more than the tax liable on the estate – so the Museum needed to raise the difference, £860,000, to acquire it. In addition to the £60,000 donated by the public, the Ashmolean received lead support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) with a grant of £550,000; a grant of £220,000 from the Art Fund; and a further £30,000 from the Friends and Patrons of the Ashmolean. Now that the funds have been raised, and following the completion of the transfer of the painting to the nation, it will be permanently allocated to the Ashmolean Museum through the Acceptance in Lieu Scheme.
Stuart McLeod, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund South East England: “This is such fantastic news! We’re delighted that the public and museum visitors have donated so generously and enabled the Ashmolean to meet their target so quickly – this just shows how important this painting is. Congratulations to everyone involved.”
Stephen Deuchar, Director of the Art Fund: “Congratulations to the Ashmolean on the success of their fundraising appeal. It would have been such a tragedy to lose this beautiful and important work by Turner - and clearly the public felt the same. We’re proud to stand alongside everyone who contributed generously to make this happen.”