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British Museum director tries to block sale of artworks from Aukland Castle

As if, being encumbered by anti-deaccessioning rules [1], yet continually trying to find ways around them (when it suits), isn’t enough, the British Museum’s director is objecting to the sale of artworks from a private collection. This is despite the fact that the acquisition of the paintings were from a ship that was seized [2] – and therefore, not exactly intended to be a part of the history of the Church of England when they were created.

Typically Spanish [3]

Church of England plans to sell 12 works by Zurbarán
By h.b. – Feb 8, 2011 – 1:37 PM
There are protests about the planned sale in the U.K.

The Church of England plans to sell 12 works from the Spanish painter, Francisco de Zurbarán, considered to be one of the moral symbols of the institution.

A row is breaking out over the future sale of Las doce tribus de Israel, Jacob y sus hijos, which have been decorating the halls of Auckland Castle in Durham since the 18th century.
The works date from about 1640 and were headed for the United States, but the boat carrying them was attacked by British pirates who then reportedly sold them to the best bidder.

The twelve canvasses, and one fake, are set to be sold at public auction, and are expected to obtain 18 million €.

However there is an active campaign against the sale. Neil McGregor, Director of the British Museum, is among those opposing the sale of the paintings. He showed them in 1994 in the National Gallery in London and the following year in the Prado in Madrid, and declared to The Times last week,

‘There are no paintings, in my opinion, which speak in such a powerful way of the commitment of the Church of England to society’.

The final decision on the sale is in the hands of the Bishops synod which meet in London later this month.