Jonathan Ruffer, the renowned contrarian wealth manager, has bought a series of twelve Spanish Old Master paintings from the Bishop of Durham for £15 million and given them back as a donation
by Josh Spero
Jonathan Ruffer, the renowned contrarian wealth manager, has bought a series of twelve Spanish Old Master paintings from the Bishop of Durham for £15 million and given them back as a donation. The paintings by Zurbaran, which show Jacob and his brothers and are hung in the Bishop’s official residence, Auckland Castle, were going to be sold to fund work with the poor, but Ruffer’s donation means they can remain.
Ruffer, 59, who was named Spear’s Wealth Leader of the Year 2009 to reflect his strong performance through the credit crisis, told The Spectator that philanthropy was the appropriate thing to do with your money: ‘There are only three things you can do with it – spend it, save it or give it away. For the rich, saving is much more dangerous than spending, because you can see how empty spending is, but it’s harder to see that saving also is. What a lot of money does is poison you. It’s like the digestive system. It’s meant to flow through you, not to stop flowing.’
With the assistance of Ruffer and a gift of £1 million from Lord Rothschild, Auckland Castle will be turned into a centre for volunteers and put into a trust or partnership to be maintained for the nation and the community. Ruffer and his wife will spend more time doing voluntary work in the North-East, where he is originally from, stepping back from the day-to-day running of Ruffer LLP.
Ruffer says he has never seen the paintings.