Lucian Freud paintings aquired by Abbot Hall Art Gallery in Cumbria


8th February 2018

Two Early Portraits by Freud acquired for the nation and allocated to Abbot Hall, Kendal.

Two early portraits by Lucian Freud, Portrait of Lady Scott, 1952-54 and Portrait of Hermione Scott, 1960 have been accepted in lieu of tax and allocated to Lakeland Arts Trust for Abbot Hall Art Gallery in Kendal.

Lucian Freud was one of Britain's greatest artists of the twentieth century. There are relatively few works by him in UK public collections. These two portraits have previously only been seen once in public in an exhibition in the 1990s in Tel Aviv. Portrait of Lady Scott is a sensitive and finely executed work while Portrait of Hermione is more freely painted with larger brushes, longer strokes and warmer fleshier tones. Viewed together the portraits demonstrate Freud's stylistic development over this 6-8 year period.

Unusually, the paintings, depicting Lady Scott and her daughter Hermione, were the result of a direct commission from Sir Oliver and Lady Scott. Freud very rarely accepted commissions to paint portraits. The Scott family have a long-held connection to Kendal having settled in the area c.1900 and founded the Provincial Insurance Company of Kendal where Sir Oliver was a Director from 1955 to 1964. Sir Oliver was also a radiobiologist whose research underpinned treatment for cancer. With his family, he gave Glencoyne, the site of Wordsworth's 'Daffodils', to the National Trust. He and his wife were keen supporters of Abbot Hall which has an impressive collection of modern British Art but no paintings by Freud. In 2016 three works - two drawings by Frank Auerbach (b.1931) and a painting by Michael Andrews (1928-1995) - from the estate of Lucian Freud were allocated to Abbot Hall through the Acceptance in Lieu scheme.

Gordon Watson, Chief Executive of Lakeland Arts said, "We are delighted that the AIL Panel has allocated two portraits by Lucian Freud to Abbot Hall Art Gallery. Portrait of Lady Scott and Portrait of Hermione Scott are very significant additions to the modern British Art collection at Abbot Hall and have strong associations with Kendal. The acquisition continues the Scott family's tremendous support for Abbot Hall which began with the founding and opening of Abbot Hall Art Gallery in 1962.

"We are pleased to be displaying the works at Abbot Hall from 9 February and know they will be greatly enjoyed by visitors to the Gallery over the coming months."

Arts Minister Michael Ellis said, "Lucian Freud is one of the greatest British artists of the twentieth century and it is fantastic that, thanks to the Acceptance in Lieu Scheme, these works will be on public display in the UK for the first time."

Edward Harley, Chairman of the Acceptance in Lieu Panel, said, "The fact that these exceptional portraits by Lucian Freud have largely been unseen by the public before now demonstrates the importance of the Acceptance in Lieu scheme. Many members of the public will now have the chance to view and enjoy them."

For more information please contact:
Alison Millar, Communications Officer, Arts Council England
Tel: 020 7268 9648/ Email:

Notes to editors

The acceptance of these portraits settled £1,260,000 of tax. The portraits were offered from the Trustees of the late Lady Phoebe-Anne Scott Will Trust.

Details of the portraits by Lucian Freud (1922-2011) are as follows:

1) Portrait of Lady Scott, 1952-54
oil on canvas
12 x 9in.
Provenance: Commissioned from the artist by Sir Oliver and Lady Scott c. 1952-54, and by descent.

2) Portrait of Hermione Scott, 1960
oil on canvas
14 x 14in.
Provenance: Commissioned from the artist by Sir Oliver and Lady Scott circa 1960, and by descent.

The Acceptance in Lieu scheme is administered by the Arts Council. The Acceptance in Lieu Panel, Chaired by Edward Harley, advises on whether property accepted in lieu is of suitable importance and offered at a value which is fair to both nation and taxpayer.  AIL enables taxpayers to pay inheritance tax by transferring important works of art and other important heritage objects into public ownership. The taxpayer is given the full open market value of the item, which then becomes the property of a public museum, archive or library. In the last decade the scheme has bought over £300m of cultural property into public collections - See more at:

The Arts Council champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people's lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries - from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Between 2015 and 2018, we will invest £1.1 billion of public money from government and an estimated £700 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.

Lakeland Arts has a portfolio of galleries and museums in the Lake District. It opened Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal, in 1962 and since then has built up an outstanding collection and a strong reputation for showing exhibitions of national and international artists of the highest quality. Abbot Hall showed the major exhibition Lucian Freud Paintings and Etchings in 1996 under Director Edward King.

Abbot Hall also houses the Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry in the former coach house and stables. Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House in Bowness-on-Windermere is architect MH Baillie Scott's greatest house and retains most of its original decorative features. It is a perfect setting for exhibitions of historical and contemporary craft.

Lakeland Arts is due to open Windermere Jetty Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories in 2018. Designed by Carmody Groarke architects, this will be a new world-class museum in a stunning setting on Windermere and will display an internationally important collection of boats which are all associated with lake Windermere.

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