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The Art Gallery

The Palazzo's collection of paintings was composed of various groups of art works collected during the years. The most ancient nucleus dated back to the Republic period and they were composed of paintings from the artists of the Tuscan Mannerism and painters from Lucca from the 17th century. Between 1808 and 1809, with the abolition of a lot of religious authorities, a lot of pieces from various periods of time and of different styles reached the Palazzo. Only a little part of them was used for the gallery. Carlo Lodovico di Borbone formed a new collection hosted in the last two lounges of the Queen's apartment. The collection was composed of about 150 paintings made by local artists and a big part from the Albani collection. Some contemporary works from local painters, commissioned by the dukes, were gathered together in the Squires' lounge. The art gallery was put on sale by the Duke Carlo Lodovico between 1836 and 1844 in London, to balance the debts he accumulated. The duke refused to sell it to the National gallery or to the Duke of Northumberland, who offered almost two millions of francs. The paintings were sold separately at derisive prices. They were then lost and today they are hardly traceable. When he departed from Lucca, Carlo Lodovico brought with himself a large number of paintings from the 15th century, which he collected from the territory of Lucca to adorn the orthodox chapels of Lucca and Marlia. In 1848 Leopoldo II, Grand Duke of Tuscany, became sovereign of Lucca and wanted to repair the big dispersion of art works; he transferred a selected choice of paintings from the collection of the Royal Villas in the Palazzo and instantly made them open to the public. In the unitary period this collection, along with the surviving paintings, was moved to the new public art gallery located in the Throne Quarter and opened in 1875. The art gallery was transferred after a century in the actual Palazzo Mansi.