[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 26 May 2006, 23:07 GMT 00:07 UK
Donne portrait saved for nation
John Donne portrait (Pic: National Portrait Gallery)
John Donne became the Dean of St Paul's
A painting of poet John Donne will be saved for the nation after donations from the public helped boost a National Portrait Gallery appeal.

The public gave 200,000 towards the 1.4m needed to acquire the portrait, which was created in about 1595 by an unknown artist.

The National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund also gave grants.

The gallery is just 500 short and hopes visitors will make up this amount over the bank holiday weekend.

"It's absolutely right, but also wonderful, that this very important picture has been bought by the National Portrait Gallery, where the wide world can enjoy and admire it," said poet laureate Andrew Motion, who backed the campaign.


The painting, regarded as the most important painting of Donne, has been privately owned for 400 years.

Although the artist behind the portrait is not known, it was bequeathed to an ancestor of the current owner in Donne's will.

It depicts Donne, who lived from 1572 to 1631, at around the time he wrote what is considered to be one of his greatest poems, To His Mistress Going To Bed, from his Elegies series.

"The response to the John Donne appeal has been outstanding, and my thanks go to all those who have contributed," said Sandy Nairne, director of the National Portrait Gallery.

The metaphysical poet's other famous works include A Valediction Forbidding Mourning and The Anniversary.

Donne portrait appeal gets boost
02 May 06 |  Entertainment
Gallery's 1.6m appeal for Donne
27 Jan 06 |  Entertainment
Looking for England
17 Jan 06 |  Magazine
Famous portrait 'not Shakespeare'
28 Oct 05 |  Entertainment
Plath's Hughes sketch up for sale
03 Aug 05 |  Entertainment

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific