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Pieter Brueghel the Younger’s The Procession to Calvary, 1602. © National Trust, Robert Thrift.

LONDON.- The Art Fund, the National Trust and National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) announce that Pieter Brueghel the Younger’s ‘The Procession to Calvary’ has been saved for the nation after an intensive three month fundraising campaign.

The £2.72 million total was announced today (Thursday 6 January) with the news of the NHMF grant of £1,034,000. Along with the Art Fund’s £500,000 grant that kick started the appeal, over £680,000 from members of the public - many of whom were Art Fund and National Trust members - and nearly £510,000 from trusts and foundations, ‘The Procession to Calvary’ can now be kept on public display at Nostell Priory in West Yorkshire.

In September, the Art Fund and the National Trust launched a joint fundraising appeal to save ‘The Procession to Calvary’. The painting is the star attraction at Nostell Priory, owned by the National Trust since 1954, where it has hung for over 200 years. The painting was put up for sale by its owner, Lord St Oswald, with the risk of being lost from public view.

Completed in 1602, and amongst Brueghel the Younger’s 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.

Dr Stephen Deuchar, Director of the Art Fund, said: “We have been bowled over by the support and enthusiasm of the public for this quite extraordinary painting, helping us to reach the £2.7 million target. Considering the economic climate, this has been a hugely challenging campaign and we are enormously grateful to all our members and supporters who have given so generously. Working with the National Trust has been a very fruitful experience, pooling our resources to pull out all the stops and save this remarkable painting for Nostell Priory and its visitors. As ever, our huge thanks to the National Heritage Memorial Fund for its major role in bringing this campaign to a truly fantastic close.”

Dame Fiona Reynolds, Director-General of the National Trust, said: “This is wonderful news and a marvellous start to the new year with the knowledge that Nostell Priory’s star attraction will stay where it belongs and continue to be enjoyed by visitors. We want to thank everyone who has supported this campaign to save ‘The Procession to Calvary’, especially the National Heritage Memorial Fund for enabling us to reach our target today. And our special thanks go to the Art Fund for their generous donation that kick-started the campaign and who have worked tirelessly with us throughout the last three months to secure the future of this wonderful painting.”

Dame Jenny Abramsky, Chair of the NHMF, said: “The overwhelming public support to help secure this stunning painting has been an inspiration. Individual giving combined with on-going support from government funds such as the National Heritage Memorial Fund, will play an increasingly important role in securing our most precious heritage.”

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Pieter Brueghel the Younger’s The Procession to Calvary, 1602. © National Trust, Robert Thrift