£13m artworks saved from inheritance tax

Masterpieces by Georges Seurat, Joshua Reynolds and William Blake worth
around £13m are among 28 collections and several hundred works of art that have
been saved for the nation this year in lieu of inheritance tax.

Acquired by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council from private
collections for public institutions through a scheme that enables owners to
offer art for public ownership instead of paying inheritance tax, their total
value is £13m, settling nearly £9m of tax.

Items are recommended for acceptance if they have a close association with
British history, a special artistic importance or a close association with an
historic setting.

Works include a haunting surrealist painting of an anxious zebra standing in
a half-built house near Paris, the last painting by Christopher Wood before his
death, ‘Cupid and Psyche’, a 1789 Baroque-style drawing by Reynolds, and a
pencil sketch of Sir Isaac Newton, a preparatory study for Blake’s print of the
philosopher and mathematician as a nude figure.

The collection will be shared among the Tate, British Library, National
Portrait Gallery and other galleries.

Details of these works were published yesterday by the Museums, Libraries and
Archives Council (MLA).

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