Tag Archives: Titian

Goodbye Callisto!

Overheard conversation between the 7th Duke of Sutherland and a peasant:


PEASANT: “So how did you come into the possession of this so-called Bridgewater Loan collection, m’Lud?”

DUKE: ” Well Brian,  that’s a funny story….. When the Froggies were busy beheading their aristocracy, a relative of Louis XVl flogged the paintings to one of my ancestors who was the Duke of Bridgewater – hence the name.   We’re a bit strapped at the moment so I thought that I might tap up the National Galleries for a few quid. I told them that we wanted to “diversify the family’s assets”. Looks like I’ve really put the cat among the pigeons this time! What a hoot!”

PEASANT: ” So where did the Froggies get the Diana and Acteon painting from? That’s the painting that everyone says is the most famous. Never heard of it myself. Titian, the bloke who painted it was from Venice, as far as I know.”

DUKE: ” Yes, that’s right. Titian painted it for Phillip ll of Spain , along with six more. Sort of a set. They stayed in Spain until   Philip V gave the painting to the French Ambassador who passed it to Louis XVl. He of course kept it until he lost his head! That’s where my lot come in.”

“PEASANT:  So it’s painted by an Italian for a Spanish King who gave it to the French?”

DUKE:” Quite.”

PEASANT: ” So why is everybody screaming that the painting has to stay in Scotland? It’s not part of either Scottish or even (if you don’t mind me saying so) British heritage – is it? Some art critic poofter is even saying that it’s the most beautiful painting ever painted.”

DUKE: “Well I don’t know about that but it is worth a few quid. About £50 mill I should think. The Duke of Bridgewater bought the job lot for about £43K – so potentially, it’s quite a nice little  earner.”

PEASANT:” You seem quite sure that they’re going to raise the cash, aren’t you?”

DUKE: ” You bet! About five years ago, I played the same trick with another Titian. It was called Venus Anadyomene – anyway it was some fat tart standing in a puddle. Got £11 mill for that one. Nothing like having a captive audience, eh? And don’t forget that there’s also Diana and Callisto.”

“PEASANT:  “Well, I’ve heard of that  Callisto one. That was owned by another French bloke…..No…. don’t tell me…. Jacques Cousteau wasn’t it. He was always on about the Callisto.”

DUKE: ” Are you sure that you’re not Brian Sewell?”