Two early portraits by Lucian Freud, Portrait of Lady Scott, 1952-54 and Portrait of Hermione Scott, 1960 have been accepted in lieu of tax and allocated to Lakeland Arts Trust for Abbot Hall Art Gallery in Kendal.
Lucian Freud was one of Britain’s greatest artists of the twentieth century. There are relatively few works by him in UK public collections. These two portraits have previously only been seen once in public in an exhibition in the 1990s in Tel Aviv. Portrait of Lady Scott is a sensitive and finely executed work while Portrait of Hermione is more freely painted with larger brushes, longer strokes and warmer fleshier tones. Viewed together the portraits demonstrate Freud’s stylistic development over this 6-8 year period.
Unusually, the paintings, depicting Lady Scott and her daughter Hermione, were the result of a direct commission from Sir Oliver and Lady Scott. Freud very rarely accepted commissions to paint portraits. The Scott family have a long-held connection to Kendal having settled in the area c.1900 and founded the Provincial Insurance Company of Kendal where Sir Oliver was a Director from 1955 to 1964. Sir Oliver was also a radiobiologist whose research underpinned treatment for cancer. With his family, he gave Glencoyne, the site of Wordsworth’s ‘Daffodils’, to the National Trust. He and his wife were keen supporters of Abbot Hall which has an impressive collection of modern British Art but no paintings by Freud. In 2016 three works – two drawings by Frank Auerbach (b.1931) and a painting by Michael Andrews (1928-1995) – from the estate of Lucian Freud were allocated to Abbot Hall through the Acceptance in Lieu scheme.
Gordon Watson, Chief Executive of Lakeland Arts said “We are delighted that the AIL Panel has allocated two portraits by Lucian Freud to Abbot Hall Art Gallery. Portrait of Lady Scott and Portrait of Hermione Scott are very significant additions to the modern British Art collection at Abbot Hall and have strong associations with Kendal. The acquisition continues the Scott family’s tremendous support for Abbot Hall which began with the founding and opening of Abbot Hall Art Gallery in 1962.
“We are pleased to be displaying the works at Abbot Hall from 9 February and know they will be greatly enjoyed by visitors to the Gallery over the coming months.”
Arts Minister Michael Ellis said: “Lucian Freud is one of the greatest British artists of the twentieth century and it is fantastic that, thanks to the Acceptance in Lieu Scheme, these works will be on public display in the UK for the first time.”
Edward Harley, Chairman of the Acceptance in Lieu Panel, said: “The fact that these exceptional portraits by Lucian Freud have largely been unseen by the public before now demonstrates the importance of the Acceptance in Lieu scheme. Many members of the public will now have the chance to view and enjoy them.”