Belfast Telegraph

Rembrandt works on display at NI museum as part of tax deal

An etching by Rembrandt, The Adoration of the Shepherds, which is on display at the Ulster Museum
An etching by Rembrandt, The Adoration of the Shepherds, which is on display at the Ulster Museum
Kathryn Thomson

By David Young

A deal struck over an outstanding tax bill has landed a Northern Ireland museum six works by Rembrandt.

The Ulster Museum is the surprise beneficiary of an agreement negotiated by the tax authorities to secure £150,000 owed to the Exchequer.

The collection are the first works by the Dutch master to be acquired by a museum in Northern Ireland.

The museum has put two of the etchings - Six's Bridge and The Adoration Of The Shepherds - on display as part of its Masterpieces of Dutch Landscapes Painting exhibition.

The other four will go on display shortly. The pieces, dating from 1630s to the 1650s, were gifted to the museum by the Arts Council England as part of the Government's acceptance in lieu scheme.

It allows individuals to settle inheritance tax bills by handing over valuable artworks to the tax authorities.

The etchings were gifted to the Ulster Museum 350 years after Rembrandt's death.

Kathryn Thomson, chief executive of National Museums NI, said the acquisition was "transformational".

"This gift immeasurably transforms the Ulster Museum collection because these are the first works by Rembrandt to enter a public collection in Northern Ireland," she added.

"We are very grateful to the Arts Council England for this allocation from the acceptance in lieu scheme.

"We are so excited for the opportunity for our visitors, from here and further afield, to see the work of one of the world's most celebrated artists in Belfast.

"We are already planning to have all six etchings displayed in a forthcoming exhibition at the Ulster Museum dedicated to Rembrandt and his influence on printmaking."

As well as the two displayed, the museum has acquired Bearded Man In A Furred Cap and Robe, The Artist's Mother, The Sleeping Herdsman and The Descent From the Cross by Torchlight. Christie's auctioneers were involved in the negotiations that resulted in the artwork being acquired by the tax authorities.

Edward Harley , the chairman of the acceptance in lieu panel, said: "I am delighted these six Rembrandt etchings have been secured for Ulster.

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