We continue to sell important material in this category privately, and some of the most valuable art handled by the department has increasingly been transacted in this discreet environment. Historic material from a variety of sources here in the UK has been moved to new homes, private and institutional, in the UK, Australia and New Zealand over the last four years.
Following the sale of the New South Wales Drawings through our offices to the State Library of New South Wales in 2011 for a multi-million pound sum, this year saw the artwork by Thomas Baines from Augustus Gregory's North Australian Expedition finally shipped to Australia after protracted negotiations over its sale and export.
Earlier this year notable private sales included a portrait of William Bligh sold to the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, while Captain Scott's 'lost' negatives from his last expedition were sold to the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge.
Recently, one of the last great New Zealand colonial paintings to remain in private hands, William Strutt's View of Mount Egmont, Taranaki, New Zealand, taken from New Plymouth, with Maoris driving off settlers’ cattle (1861) was sold by our department in conjunction with a New Zealand agent to Te Papa Tongarewa, the National Museum of New Zealand, in Wellington. This masterpiece will join John Webber’s great portrait of Poetua, the Polynesian princess painted on Cook’s third voyage, another icon acquired by Te Papa, at the instigation of the late Jonathan Mane-Wheoki, via a private sale from Christie’s in June 2010.
William Strutt (1825–1915), View of Mount Egmont, Taranaki, New Zealand, taken from New Plymouth, with Maoris driving off settlers’ cattle. Signed and dated ‘1861’. Sold for £750,000, July 2015