An 18th century portrait of the 5th Earl of Carlisle by Joshua Reynolds has been accepted by the nation in lieu of £4.7m inheritance tax.
The Acceptance in Lieu (AIL) scheme is administered by Arts Council England and enables taxpayers to pay Inheritance Tax by transferring important works of art and heritage objects into public ownership. The taxpayer is given the full open market value of the item. The object is then allocated to a public museum, archive or library by the appropriate minister.
The Acceptance in Lieu Panel advises on whether property accepted in lieu is of suitable importance and offered at a value which is fair to both the nation and the taxpayer. In the last decade the scheme has apparently brought over £250m of cultural property into public collections.
In this case the full length portrait of the lavishly dressed aristocrat has hung at Castle Howard- made famous as the backdrop for Brideshead Revisited- for more than 200 years. Frederick Howard (1748-1825) became the 5th Earl of Carlisle on his father’s death in 1758. The Reynolds portrait , painted in 1769 depicts him age 20 newly returned from an indulgent European tour. Howard was a man who liked to enjoy himself, often losing large amounts of money at gaming tables and being the reluctant guardian of the “bad boy” poet Lord Byron.
The Reynolds painting has been passed down through the family and its offer to the AIL follows the sale last year of art works and furniture by the castle’s present custodians to help secure the estate’s long term future.
The AIL scheme was created in David Lloyd George’s people’s budget of 1910 with hundreds of outstanding objects and collections given as a way of settling tax bills.
Edward Harley, the chairman of the AIL panel said “The acceptance in lieu scheme has been enriching our heritage for over a century; I am delighted that this masterpiece by Reynolds, one of the most important painters of the day, has entered our national collection under the scheme.”