Page last updated at 14:43 GMT, Thursday, 5 June 2008 15:43 UK

Starkey backs Rubens art campaign

Detail of The Apotheosis of James I
The sketch is valued at £11.5m on the open market

TV historian David Starkey has backed a campaign to save a Rubens sketch for the nation.

The oil sketch, called The Apotheosis of James I, was commissioned by Charles I for the ceiling of the Banqueting House in Whitehall, London.

Tate Britain began fundraising in March to raise £6m by 31 July and prevent the sketch from being sold abroad.

Starkey said: "It seems to me that it is absolutely unthinkable that this leaves the country."

He added: "This work is of the utmost significance to British history.

"The Banqueting House ceiling is the most important painting set within an architectural context in England and this sketch is the key to its composition.

"The loss of the sketch would be a fundamental betrayal of our national heritage and it is inconceivable that it move from Britain."

The large-scale oil sketch, valued at over £11m on the open market, has been kept in a private collection in England for more than 200 years.

David Starkey
Starkey's TV shows include Monarchy and The Six Wives of Henry VIII

Rubens was one of the most celebrated artists of his time, and the sketch was commissioned around 1628 while he was visiting Britain as an ambassador for King Philip IV of Spain.

The work is Rubens' first sketch for seven of the nine eventual component panels of the Whitehall ceiling.

Stephen Deuchar, director of Tate Britain, described it as an "icon of British history".

"This sketch, which represents Rubensís first visualisation of the project, allows us into the mind's eye of one of the greatest artists working anywhere at the time and shows the earliest stage of his creative process," he said.

"There could simply be no better place than Tate Britain to explore its national importance and recognise its truly memorable contribution to British art history."




SEE ALSO
Public asked to save Rubens art
20 Mar 08 |  Entertainment
Rubens art 'not stolen by Nazis'
29 Nov 07 |  Entertainment
Rare Rubens drawing goes on show
27 Oct 05 |  Entertainment
£49.5m Rubens unveiled to public
30 Jan 03 |  Entertainment

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


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2018 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific