Important Bellini painting returns to Tyntesfield

By Sarah Jackson | 12 August 2013

A significant 15th century painting has been returned to Tyntesfield in North Somerset, where it had previously been displayed for many years.

A National Trust team position Bellini's The Madonna and Child with John the Baptist above the fireplace in the Anteroom of Tyntesfield.
A team from the National Trust at Tyntesfield carefully positioned the painting over the fireplace in the Anteroom – the same room the Gibbs family displayed the painting when they lived at Tyntesfield.© National Trust
The Madonna and Child with John the Baptist, painted by Giovanni Bellini in his workshop, was one of the key artworks in Tyntesfield, now owned by the National Trust.

The painting was originally purchased by Antony Gibbs in 1880 and is typical of the art collection created by four generations of the Gibbs family.

"It is a really rather beautiful painting," says curator Stephen Ponder.

"It is very important to Tyntesfield because of its long history with the Gibbs family."

The painting was accepted in lieu of Inheritance Tax by the government. It was recently displayed at the Bristol City Art Gallery, but has now been given to the National Trust to go back on display at Tyntesfield.

The painting is sensitive to environmental conditions and has been enclosed in a glass case since 1969, with substantial restoration work carried out in 1991.

"The return of the painting is an indication that, following the restoration of the house, Tyntesfield now meets the strict standards required for caring and displaying paintings of this quality," adds Ponder.

The painting has been returned to the Ante Room where Lord Wraxall displayed it, still in its original glass box and hung above the fireplace.
To celebrate the Gibbs family’s interest in art, Tyntesfield will launch a new programme of contemporary art called Still / life from September with specially commissioned installations for the house and nearby Leigh Woods.
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