A fundraising campaign, by the National Portrait Gallery and Art Fund, successfully raised £10million to prevent the work from going overseas. A major HLF grant was added to individual donations and funds from private trusts, the Art Fund and National Portrait Gallery. The extraordinary generosity of so many individuals and trusts made this one of the most successful campaigns for a work of art of the last hundred years.
Funds were also secured to support a national tour of the painting, giving thousands of people the chance to view the poignant portrait.
Sir Anthony Van Dyck’s last self-portrait is a work of huge international importance. It presents an intimate image of an artist at work, apparently in the act of painting, his hand raised in the process of applying paint to a canvas just out of sight. Although born in Antwerp, Van Dyck came to Britain in 1632 and was buried in Old St Paul’s Cathedral following his death in 1641.