British hedge fund manager Jonathan Ruffer has donated £15 million to keep a series of paintings on public view in the U.K. He has never seen the 13 paintings of Jacob and his sons by the Spanish artist Francisco de Zurbarán.
Church commissioners were set to auction the 17th century masterpieces to raise money for the upkeep of Auckland Castle, the seat of the Bishop of Durham, where the paintings hang.
Ruffer, who is reportedly worth £100m, stepped in to keep the paintings from leaving the country or going into a private collection. He immediately gave the paintings back to the Church of England as a gift after his purchase.
“People underestimate the symbolic power of art," Ruffer told the Telegraph of his philanthropy.
Auckland Castle is to become a regional heritage center with more public access.