British Museum acquires £1.4m Rembrandt Drawing via AIL

January 12 2024

Image of British Museum acquires £1.4m Rembrandt Drawing via AIL

Picture: The British Musuem

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The British Museum have announced its acquisition of a drawing by Rembrandt as part of the Acceptance in Lieu Scheme. The drawing of A baby sleeping in a cradle came from the estate of Nancy Rae-Smith and its acceptance settled £1,406,250 of tax.

According to the museum's press release:

The newly acquired work, A baby in a cap sleeping in a cradle was drawn from life, and Rembrandt used it as a study for the Christ child in his painting of the Holy Family (signed and dated 1645, Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg). This is characteristic of the artist, who drew inspiration from the domestic sphere, and interpreted biblical stories in a touchingly human way – which contributes to his enduring popularity. The drawing was long thought to depict Rembrandt’s son Titus, although he was born in 1641 and therefore older than the depicted child.


The early reception of Rembrandt in Britain is integrally connected to the history of the collection at the British Museum. The newly acquired drawing was owned by some of the most important British collectors, including the Victorian painter, Sir Frederic Leighton. It is therefore significant to the broader history of British tastes and collecting, and to the reception of Rembrandt in Britain.

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