Saving a masterpiece for the nation

Breughel's Procession to Calvary - saved for the nation by you.

Breughel's Procession to Calvary - saved for the nation by you.

When 'The Procession from Calvary' by Pieter Breughel the Younger was put up for sale by its owner, we were given first refusal to buy it. With your help we managed to raise £2.7 million in under 6 months - during a recession.

It’s not often that we so publicly ask for help with saving important works of art but you may remember, in September 2010, we launched a joint fundraising appeal with the Art Fund in an attempt to save the masterpiece.

The appeal was supported by the National Heritage Memorial Fund with a grant of over £1 million and the Art Fund who kick-started the campaign with a £500,000 gift.  The rest however, was donations from people like you.

Why was it important to us?

  • The painting is the star attraction at Nostell Priory, where it has hung for over 200 years.
  • It is one of only five versions that are signed and dated by Brueghel. The earliest of these has been in the Uffizi galleries in Florence since 1686.
  • 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 200 figures in a vibrant narrative, set in a contemporary Flemish landscape.

There really was a very real risk of this masterpiece being lost from public view but ‘The Procession to Calvary’ can now be viewed at Nostell Priory for ever so do pay them a visit if you ever get the chance.