Let’s save the Nostell Brueghel

Image Robert Thrift

An amazing painting by Pieter Brueghel the Younger with a provenance from Nostell Priory is up for sale. The National Trust and the Art Fund have just started a joint campaign to purchase this picture, so that it can remain on public view at Nostell.

Image Robert Thrift

The painting, dated 1602, shows Christ being taken to Calvary to be crucified. But Christ himself is almost lost in the milling crowd. Some of the people are dressed in pseudo-Biblical costume, and others are wearing seventeenth-century Flemish dress.

Image Robert Thrift

On the left we can see Jerusalem bathed in sunshine. It looks rather like a Netherlandish town, complete with church spires and a windmill. 

Image Robert Thrift

On the right the procession winds its way towards Calvary, with the sky darkening ominously above. Mary Magdalene and other women can be seen grieving at the foot of a tree that has lost its leaves.

Image Robert Thrift

Close by, two little children sit cosily together by the side of the road watching the procession go past. These little everyday details make it seem as if the passion of Christ is taking place right here, right now.

Image Robert Thrift

The Art Fund have already contributed £500,000 to the campaign, and we hope to raise the remaining £2.2 million by Christmas. Click here to discover more about the picture and to make a donation.
To enable as many people as possible to see the Nostell Brueghel during the fundraising campaign, the painting will be on view at the National Gallery in London from 5 October to 9 November 2010, and then at the York Art Gallery from 18 November until Christmas.

4 Responses to “Let’s save the Nostell Brueghel”

  1. columnist Says:

    Oh dear yes. One of the greatest artists of all time, Bruegel the Younger. Whether it is more accessible at Nostell Priory is of course another question, but personally I take the view that treasures should be available throughout the United Kingdom, and not just at the obvious places such as London, which is saturated. And I’m all for encouraging enthusiasts to visit anything to do with Adam.

  2. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    I am glad you approve.

    As for accessibility, Nostell Priory is situated near large conurbations such as Leeds. It is one of the treasure houses of Yorkshire and is open to all. If we don’t manage to acquire the Brueghel it will become a lot less accessible, as it is then likely to be sold abroad, quite possibly to a private buyer.

    And indeed there is an indirect link with Robert Adam, as the painting was almost certainly brought to Nostell by Sir Rowland Winn, 5th Baronet, who commissioned Adam (and also Chippendale) at Nostell – more about this in my next post.

  3. CherryPie Says:

    Fascinating painting.

    I have done a little post about this and included a picture from here with a link back. If you are unhappy with that please let me know and I will remove it immediately.

  4. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    That’s absolutely fine – any genuine interest is very welcome!

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