Donations to the appeal by the Art Fund
and the National Trust
to save an iconic Old Master painting for the nation are approaching £1.4 million.
The appeal still has some way to go, however, to reach its £2.7 million target by Christmas and it is hoped that the public will support the appeal through The Big Give Christmas Challenge that begins today.
In September, the Art Fund and the National Trust launched a fundraising appeal to save The Procession to Calvary by Pieter Brueghel the Younger. The painting is the star attraction at Nostell Priory in Yorkshire, owned by the National Trust since 1954, where it has hung for over 200 years.
The painting, which is still owned by Lord St Oswald, has been put up for sale, with the risk that Nostells greatest work will no longer be accessible to the public.
Completed in 1602, and amongst Brueghel the Youngers finest works, The Procession to Calvary shows Christ carrying the cross on the way to his crucifixion. He is surrounded by over two hundred figures in a vibrant narrative, set in a contemporary Flemish landscape.
The Art Fund gave an initial boost to the campaign with a £500,000 donation. Since then, over 10,000 people have supported the appeal.
Now, to encourage further donations, The Procession to Calvary will be included in The Big Give Christmas Challenge 2010, which aims to raise money for hundreds of charities across a number of sectors.
From 6 10 December, the five day challenge will enable donors to double their donations for free if made via The Big Give website www.thebiggive.org.uk/donate/nostell.
Fiona Reynolds, Director-General of the National Trust, said: We are delighted that the fundraising appeal to save this wonderful painting is approaching £1.4 million and our thanks go to everyone who has supported it so far. But we have some way to go and we hope many more people can help us to reach our target to keep The Procession to Calvary at Nostell Priory where it belongs.
Stephen Deuchar, Director of the Art Fund, said: This remarkable painting has really captured the hearts of many of the UK public, helping us to come a long way in only 2 months. But were just over half way with a significant sum still to raise we urge as many as possible to double their donations through The Big Give and help us secure the painting for Nostell in time for Christmas.
The Procession to Calvary is currently on display at the York Art Gallery where it will remain until Christmas.
Donations so far to the appeal have totalled:
Art Fund grant of £500,000
Public donations of £460,000
Trusts and Foundations £437,000