Owner of Zoffany Painting May Receive $4.9 Million From UK Government

The sum would be the largest ever paid out for a lost or damaged work under the plan.

Johann Zoffany, The Mathew Family. Courtesy National Trust, Clandon Park

The owner of a multi-milllion dollar Johann Zoffany painting that was destroyed last year in a fire at Clandon Park, a Surrey mansion that is owned by the UK’s National Trust, will likely receive $4.9 million (£4 million) in compensation under the British government’s indemnity plan, according to the Art NewspaperThe sum would be the largest ever paid out for a lost or damaged work under the plan.

Nine works by Zoffany have sold for over $1 million at auction, according to the artnet Price Database. The record is $10.6 million (£6.8 million), set at Sotheby’s London in December 2011, for The Garden at Hampton House, with Mr. and Mrs. David Garrick Taking Tea (circa 1762).

In 2012, Zoffany received a long-awaited exhibition at the Royal Academy in London, and the Telegraph called him “one of the most stunning painters of the 18th century,” along with one of the most eccentric.

Three years later, an electrical fire consumed Clandon Park. No visitors or staff died in the blaze, but the prized Zoffany portrait, The Mathew Family at Felix Hall Kelvedon, Essex (mid-1760s) was damaged. It was among the most valuable artworks in the house, having been loaned by descendants of George Mathew, who is featured in the painting, touching his mother’s knee.

Damage to Clandon Park building following 2015 fire. Courtesy Aglet via Flickr.

Damage to Clandon Park building following 2015 fire. Courtesy Aglet via Flickr.

The insurance plan operated by Arts Council England is reportedly now processing the claim, as only 400 of the house’s 2,000 items were removed in time to be saved from the fire.

TAN says the trust’s insurance claim, which is being handled by Zurich Municipal, could be well over $61 million (£50 million). Clandon Park will be rebuilt with the proceeds in 2017.


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