TWO paintings commissioned by one of England’s finest 18th century actors have been added to the permanent collection of a North-East museum.

The works portray thespian David Garrick in famous theatrical roles and were painted by Johan Zoffany, a German born artist.

The paintings, entitled David Garrick and Mrs Cibber as Jaffier and Belvidera in ‘Venice Preserv’d,’ and David Garrick and Mary Bradshaw in David Garrick’s ‘The Farmer’s Return,’ were commissioned by him in 1762 to hang in the dining room of his London home.

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Sold by Garrick’s widow at Christie’s in 1823, they remained in family ownership until they were transferred to the nation through the Acceptance in Lieu (AIL) scheme administered by Arts Council England.

They have been allocated to The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, following a successful application by keeper of fine art, Emma House.

She said: “Zoffany’s art covers the whole of 18th century society, from royalty to cockfighting, and we’re delighted that the AIL scheme has allocated them to us.

“He did masterly portraits of great actors in famous roles, of which these are fine examples.”

The AIL scheme allows those who have a bill for inheritance tax to pay by transferring important cultural, scientific or historic objects to the nation.

Material accepted under the scheme is then allocated to public collections and is available for all.