In praise of the Purchase Grant Fund

Purity of heart by Pompeo Batoni (1708-1787). Purchased for Uppark, West Sussex, in 1976 with the help of the MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund. ©NTPL/Prudence Cuming

I recently learned that there is some uncertainty about the future of the MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund, due to various government cuts and reorganisations.

Detail of view of Verona by Bernardo Bellotto (1720-1780). Purchased for Powis Castle, Powys, in 1981 with the help of the MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund. ©NTPL

The Purchase Grant Fund has been a staunch supporter of the National Trust over the years.

Late seventeenth-century Florentine tabletop cabinet inlaid with lapis lazuli. Purchased for Belton House, Lincolnshire, in 1984 with the help of the MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund. ©NTPL/Andreas von Einsiedel

The grants were initially funded and administered throught the Victoria & Albert Museum.

Portrait of Edward Dryden and his family, c. 1715, by Jonathan Richardson the Elder (1665-1745). Purchased for Canons Ashby, Northamptonshire, in 1987 with the help of the MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund. ©NTPL

Latterly the funding came from the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA), though the V&A still adminsters the grants. The MLA is now to be abolished.

Le passé et le présent by Max Ernst. Purchased for Ernö Goldfinger’s house at 2 Willow Road, London, in 1999 with the help of the MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund. ©NTPL/Matthew Hollow

Numerous museums across Britain have benefitted from Purchase Grant Fund support, which has enabled them to collect fascinating, beautiful and relevant objects like the ones shown here.

Late eighteenth-century Chinese punchbowl showing the western trading posts in Canton. Purchased for Nostell Priory, West Yorkshire, in 2008 with the help of the MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund. ©National Trust/Robert Thrift

The Purchase Grant Fund is a very efficient and cost-effective part of the funding system for UK museums, and I very much hope it will be allowed to continue in some form.

2 Responses to “In praise of the Purchase Grant Fund”

  1. Janet Says:

    Unfortunately, this is happening all too often with funding sources. It is a particular shame in this instance. What treasures have been acquired!

  2. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Yes it has been very effective, with the limited funds at its disposal. So here’s hoping the ‘good value’ argument will prevail.

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