Lichfield Cathedral thrilled as rare painting nets it £300k
Staff at Lichfield Cathedral today said they are 'absolutely thrilled' after a rare painting sold for more than £300,000.
J.M.W Turner's watercolour painting of Lichfield Cathedral sold for £310,000 at auction, with all the money going to the cathedral.
The painting was auctioned at the world renowned Sotheby's in London last Wednesday. It had a reserve price of £300,000 but was expected to fetch between £500,000 and £800,000, something it fell well short of.
Today the cathedral explained the positive impact the windfall will make.
Helen Geary, the director of fundraising at Lichfield Cathedral, said: “Legacies of all sizes have made a tremendous difference to the cathedral and we are absolutely thrilled with the amount raised by the sale.
"The story of Turner’s painting will no doubt become an enduring part of the cathedral’s history for centuries to come.
“It costs £5,000 per day to keep the cathedral open and free to visitors, and the funds raised from this sale will be a huge help in preserving the building for future generations.”
The renowned romanticist artist's painting depicts the three-spired medieval structure soaring above Minster Pool as a storm approaches. Turner painted it following his visit to Lichfield during a tour of the Midlands in 1830.
It had been in private collections since Turner died in 1851, but last year it was left as a legacy to Lichfield Cathedral.
The cathedral briefly put it on display for people to see before it was auctioned off this month.
The very reverend Adrian Dorber, dean of Lichfield Cathedral, said: “To receive such an extraordinary legacy is something that happens only once in a lifetime.
“Our donor’s generosity has not only helped us meet the ongoing challenges of securing this unique historic cathedral for the next generation, but has also seen us welcome 20,000 visitors to the city to see our temporary exhibition Mr Turner Comes to Lichfield.
"We hope the new owners will enjoy this beautiful painting every bit as much as we have.”