Poussin painting valued at £15m fails to sell
Trustees of a Leicestershire stately home were "disappointed" after a painting estimated to be worth at least £15m did not find a buyer at auction.
Ordination by French artist Nicolas Poussin was up for auction at a Christie's art sale in London.
Belvoir Estate in Leicestershire had hoped to raise funds for the castle's restoration and long-term preservation.
The painting was one of a set of seven works entitled the Sacraments bought by the 4th Duke of Rutland in 1785.
A Belvoir estate spokesman said: "Naturally this is a disappointing outcome given that the trustees had made the difficult decision, after careful consideration, to offer this painting at auction.
"The trustees remain committed to the restoration and long-term preservation of Belvoir Castle and Estate."
The sale did raise more than £25m for other art works, with eight works selling for more than £1m.
A Christie's spokesman said: "It was a disappointment that the superb painting by Poussin did not sell in the auction. This masterpiece was admired and appreciated around the world, generating considerable excitement.
"Overall, we saw strong private institutional and trade bidding from Europe including Russia, Asia and the USA."
Adrian Lewis, who teaches art history at De Montfort University, said it appeared the reserve price was too high, adding it was one of a series of paintings showing the seven sacraments of the Roman Catholic church.
The Ordination was painted by Poussin in the 1630s along with the other paintings in the series.