$24 Million Donation Secures Francisco de Zurbaran Works for the United Kingdom

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LONDON (REUTERS).- A series of portraits by 17th century Spanish painter Francisco de Zurbaran hanging in Auckland Castle, northeast England, have been saved from the auction block by a 15 million pound ($24 million) donation. Investment manager Jonathan Ruffer made the donation through a new charitable trust set up to benefit people in the region. It means the Church Commissioners, who manage an investment portfolio of some 5 billion pounds for the Church of England, will not be forced a sell the series of portraits of Jacob and his sons, a proposal which had drawn widespread criticism. Auckland Castle has been the home to the Bishops of Durham for more than 800 years and is still the bishop’s official residence today. It opens to the public for several months a year, and under new plans revealed on Thursday the Church Commissioners are discussing ways to increase public access to the site. Among its star attar