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Estee Lauder son saves painting for UK with £5m National Gallery donation

A US billionaire has spent just short of £5 million to keep a 700-year-old painting in the UK.

Ronald S Lauder, the son of cosmetics mogul Estee Lauder, stepped in when it looked like Giovanni da Rimini's Scenes From The Lives Of The Virgin And Other Saints would be taken out of the country.

He donated £4,919,000 to the National Gallery in London to buy the work which was painted around 1300.

The work, which measures 52.5cm by 34.3cm, had been part of the the collection of the Dukes of Northumberland at Alnwick Castle since 1853 but was sold at auction last year.

In return for the money, the painting will be loaned to Mr Lauder for his lifetime but will return to London regularly during that time and become part of the gallery's permanent collection upon his death.

National Gallery director Sir Nicholas Penny said: "We are very grateful to Mr Lauder. He has helped us to find an imaginative way of sharing this rare and exquisite painting. His generous gift to the National Gallery, to the British public and to all visitors to this great collection is an act of extraordinary generosity."

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