National Gallery reveals masterpieces’ links to slave trade after three-year audit | United Kingdom | New


For three years, staff carried out an audit to identify works of art that may have belonged to or have been painted by anyone linked to slavery. So far, they’ve covered paintings the gallery acquired between 1824 and 1880, which has tarnished many favorites.

British masterpieces such as Constable, Gainsborough and Hogarth have fallen into the limelight, as have works by Renaissance greats Raphael, Titian and Botticelli, whose mystical Nativity once belonged to William Ottley, who owned 17 slaves in Antigua.

Raphael’s Pope Julius II was purchased from the collection of John Angerstein, who provided the slave transport ships.

The self-portrait at the age of 63 of the Dutch master Rembrandt was purchased from George Brodrick, who came from a family of slave owners.

The gallery says the project aims to “find out what links to slave ownership can be traced to the gallery and to what extent the benefits of plantation slavery impacted our early days,” reports the Daily Mail.

READ MORE: Georgian Britain cartoons come with warning about slavery

An allegory of Titian’s prudence once belonged to the Rothschild family, whose 19th-century global corporations connected them with slave owners.

But the family also arranged the £ 15million loan which allowed the government to compensate plantation owners and abolish slavery in 1833.

Hannah Rothschild was most recently chair of the gallery’s board of directors.

A spokesperson for the gallery said: “The data aims, to the extent possible, to objectively present facts relevant to the long and complex history of the transatlantic slave trade. From the information provided, users will be able to determine for themselves the nature and extent of these connections.

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