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Atmospheric view of Seine is a tax ‘benefit’

31 October, 2019 — By John Evans

Richard Parkes Bonington, On the Seine – Morning, c1825, oil on millboard, 30.2 x 35cm

IN the past 10 years or so more than £330million of treasures have been brought into “public ownership” and allocated to accessible collections under the AIL, Acceptance In Lieu scheme.

One of the latest benefits has been the National Gallery’s acquisition of a beautiful, small, landscape painting from about 1825 by the English-born Romantic artist Richard Parkes Bonington (1802-1828).

On the Seine – Morning can now be seen at the gallery, having been accepted by the AIL panel to settle a £643,365 tax bill. It’s the second work by Bonington to go to the gallery, an oil sketch of a coastal scene, La Ferté, being the first under similar AIL circumstances seven years ago.

Thanking the government, Arts Council England and the panel, the National’s director, Dr Gabriele Finaldi, said: “Bonington is an important and rare artist and this evocative and atmospheric view of the River Seine is a superb example of his work.”

Before his early death at just 25 from tuberculosis, Bonington was highly regarded both for his watercolours and oils. He won a gold medal at the Paris Salon of 1824, at which John Constable’s The Hay Wain also took a gold.

Bonington was born near Nottingham but the family relocated to France and he studied in Calais and Paris, travelling widely. In 1825 he visited London with several French artists, including his friend Eugène Delacroix, and in 1826 travelled to Switzerland and Italy.


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