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Sometimes the lack of patriotic spirit of the English upper class astounds me. How desperate for money you have to be to sell certain pieces of your inheritance. I am talking about Peregrine Cavendish, the 12th Duke of Devonshire and master of the Chatsworth estate. He inherited one of the most magnificent collections of Old Master drawings in the world. It was chiefly assembled by William Cavendish, the 2nd Duke of Devonshire, 300 years ago and includes works by Raphael, Titian and Rembrandt.

In December, sweet Peregrine decided to sell Raphael’s Head of an Apostle for the record price of £29.7 million to an anonymous foreign buyer. The drawing is (thank God!) currently subject to a three month government export ban, which just expired in the hope that sufficient funds can be raised in the UK to keep it here.

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The idiocy of The Art Newspaper interviewing this man is even more astonishing. They are fascinated by the majesty of I dont know what and in the process get the most amazing answers. To the question: Was it a wrench to sell the Raphael? The desperate Duke answered: “It’s not much fun selling things but we’re very lucky to have enormous strength and depth’. To me what you have is a a lot of debt and seriously need to consider getting a job. And..by the way… Duke, you must disclose the name and origin of the buyer. You cannot possibly keep that undisclosed from the Nation. Just a thought.

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