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Campaign saves royal ceiling sketch

Published: Tuesday 14th of October 2008

A campaign to keep an oil sketch by the artist Rubens in British hands has succeeded, it has emerged.

The Apotheosis of James I, a drafted work designed to show the monarch how the finished ceiling at his residence in Banqueting House in London's Whitehall would look, was at risk of falling into foreign ownership.

Tate Britain has now announced that it has raised the £6 million to purchase the work, considered to be of huge importance to British cultural heritage, shortly before it was due to go on public sale and run the risk of being taken out of the country.

Speaking to the Times newspaper, which assisted in acquiring the work, Sir Huge Leggatt said the work was "the most important painting in the land" and that "it would have been the greatest tragedy if we hadn't saved it".

Visitors to London's Banqueting House can enjoy the beautiful painted ceilings and magnificent archictecture of one of the capital's most fascinating historic buildings for free on production of their LondonPass, which is a saving of £4.50 for adults and £2.25 for children.

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