John Constable's Salisbury Cathedral bought by Tate for $34.7m

Tate Britain has purchased John Constable's masterpiece Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows.

Salisbury Cathedral John Constable
The work, which Constable himself considered one of his finest, was completed in 1831 and displayed at the Royal Academy

The work was bought for £23.1m ($34.7m), having been on loan to London's National Gallery for more than 30 years. Sold by the children of the late Lord Ashton of Hyde, some commentators had feared the work would be bought by an overseas collector.

"It's one of the quintessential images of 19th century British art and it's worth every penny," Tate Britain director Nicholas Serota told the BBC.

"I know there was a major American museum that asked for first refusal."

The auction record for John Constable's work is held by The Lock, which sold for £22.4m ($35.2m) in July 2012. It is one of the most valuable British paintings ever sold at auction.

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