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Photo: Final touch

24 August 2012


Final touch: the Art Fund announced last week that it is supporting a public appeal by the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge to acquire Nicolas Poussin's painting Extreme Unction (c. 638-40) for almost £3.9 million. The picture is one of the artist's surviving Sacraments series, and was part of the 11th Duke of Rutland's 2000 settlement. As a result of the sale, in 2011, of another of the Sacraments, Ordination, to a museum in Fort Worth, for £15 million, the trustees incurred a new inheritance tax bill, and their offer of Extreme Unction is part of the acceptance-in-lieu scheme. As the value of the painting is greater than the tax due, the Fitzwilliam must pay the trustees the difference, estimated at £3,875,917. It has until early November to raise the funds. www.artfund.org/poussin

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