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Tuesday, 10 October, 2000, 16:28 GMT 17:28 UK
Michelangelo piece 'heading for Scotland'
National Galleries, Edinburgh
The artwork could soon feature at the gallery
Officials from the National Galleries in Scotland are deliberating whether to shell out up to 8m for a rare pen and ink drawing by Michelangelo.

The artwork of the woman in mourning is said to be highly significant and was discovered at Castle Howard stately home in Yorkshire.

It is thought it had been languishing in a library for more than 250 years and has been valued at between 6m and 8m.

Mourning woman by Michelangelo
Mourning woman by Michelangelo
Gallery chiefs, based in Edinburgh, have confirmed it has been offered the chance to buy the piece before it is put up for sale on the open market.

Board members will meet next month to decide if they will go ahead and attempt to acquire the drawing.

Simon Howard, who lives at Castle Howard, said the discovery had taken him "entirely by surprise".

He said the work was being sold because he felt it should be in a public collection where it could be seen by a greater number of people.

Mr Howard added that it was not possible to display the drawing at Castle Howard, where the cost of insurance against the risk of theft would be prohibitive.

He said: "Clearly this is a drawing of major importance which has been accepted by all the experts as being by Michelangelo and as such it should be on display in a national gallery or museum where everyone can enjoy it."

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