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Francisco Zurbaran paintings to remain in Auckland Castle

31st March 2011

Paintings by Francisco Zurbaran which hang in the Bishop of Durham's home will no longer be sold, thanks to a donation of GBP 15 million.

Church Commissioners had planned to sell the Spanish Baroque artist's works, which depict Jacob and his sons, in a bid to fund work in poor areas.

However, the donation by investment manager Jonathan Ruffer means the artworks will remain at Auckland Castle, where they have hung in a room specially built for them for about 250 years.

Nicholas Penny, director of the National Gallery, said it was 'excellent' that the Zurbarans will remain in their historic home.

The paintings are part of a series of 13 portraits, but only 12 hang in the Bishop of Durham's residence.

Auckland Castle is also set to become a public heritage site, bringing tourism to the north-east.

Councillor Simon Henig, leader of Durham County Council, added: 'I believe we now have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to secure a future for the Zurbarans at Auckland Castle and ensure both can be enjoyed by a wider public audience.'

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