Reynolds’s Portrait Accepted in Lieu of £4.7m Inheritance Tax

Posted in museums by Editor on August 14, 2016

Press release (10 August 2016) from Arts Council England:

Sir Joshua Reynolds, Portrait of Frederick, 5th Earl of Carlisle, 1769, oil on canvas, 241.4 × 150 cm (Tate Britain)

Sir Joshua Reynolds, Portrait of Frederick, 5th Earl of Carlisle, 1769, oil on canvas, 241.4 × 150 cm (Tate Britain)

A major full-length portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723–1792) of the 5th Earl of Carlisle (1748–1825), aged 20, has been accepted in lieu of inheritance tax for the nation. This important painting has been allocated to Tate and will remain on public display in its original setting at Castle Howard in North Yorkshire and in the future will be shown elsewhere around the country including Tate Britain.

The portrait, which has long been recognised as one of Reynolds’s masterpieces, was commissioned by the sitter and completed in 1769 when Reynolds was at the height of his powers, having just been elected the first President of the Royal Academy. The painting has always been central to the collection at Castle Howard and has hung there for over 200 years.

The 5th Earl was a key patron and collector of the arts in the North of England in the 18th century. Dressed in formal robes surrounded by classical architecture and his beloved dog Rover at his feet, Carlisle was captured by Reynolds in a lively and highly skilled manner, marking his entry into society following his Grand Tour and his position as head of this important family dynasty. The complex composition, paintwork and use of colour illustrates perfectly why Reynolds was the leading British portrait painter of the 18th century. Reynolds’s composition alludes to the architecture of Castle Howard, designed by Sir John Vanbrugh (1664–1726). The building of Castle Howard was completed under the supervision of the 5th Earl who filled the great house with his fine collection of Old Masters.

Edward Harley, Chairman of the AIL Panel, said: “The Acceptance in Lieu scheme has been enriching our heritage for over a century; I am delighted that this masterpiece by Reynolds, one of the most important painters of the day, has entered our national collection under the scheme.”

Alex Farquharson, Director, Tate Britain said: “The magnificent painting of Frederick Howard, 5th Earl of Carlisle 1769 is the first full-length male portrait by Joshua Reynolds to join the Tate collection. A glamorous portrait in oil of the earl and his beloved dog Rover, it is an outstanding example of the type of painting for which Reynolds is most highly acclaimed. I am delighted that this work will now enter the national collection, the greatest collection of British art in the world, and that it will be shown both in its original setting in Castle Howard and, in future, at Tate Britain and elsewhere.”

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As Mark Brown reports for The Guardian (10 August 2016).

An important 18th-century portrait of the 5th Earl of Carlisle by Sir Joshua Reynolds has been accepted for the nation in lieu of £4.7m inheritance tax. . .

The Reynolds painting has been passed down through the family and its offer to the acceptance in lieu scheme (AIL) follows the sale last year of art works and furniture by the castle’s present custodians to help secure the estate’s long-term future [Sotheby’s, July 2015]. The sale raised £12m.

The acceptance in lieu scheme was created in David Lloyd George’s people’s budget of 1910, with hundreds of outstanding objects and collections given as a way of settling tax bills.


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