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Italian princess is named heir of British art baron and could get HALF of £800m collection

Italian princess is named heir of British art baron and could get HALF of £800m collection he left to New York University along with villa in Florence after DNA test proved her mother was his lovechild

  • Dialta Alliata Lensi Orlandi’s late mother was the child of British art baron’s affair 
  • Sir Harold Acton left his 6,000-piece collection to New York University in 1994
  • Court has ruled Orlandi’s mother Liana is a joint heir to Sir Harold’s collection  
  • The art is housed in Sir Harold’s former Florence home, a 14th Century villa 

An Italian princess is set to inherit half of an £800million art collection after DNA tests proved she is the granddaughter of a late British collector. 

Dialta Orlandi is confident she will be awarded joint ownership of the fortune left by the late Sir Harold Acton after a court ruled that her mother was the art collector’s out-of-wedlock daughter.  

When Sir Harold died in 1994, he left his 14th century Florence villa – which houses the artwork – to New York University because a line of inheritance was not believed to have existed.  

But a 25-year court battle has now reportedly named Orlandi’s love child mother Liana Beacci as the rightful heir to the estate. 

And because Beacci died in 2000, half of the collection is poised to be shared with Orlandi.

Liana Beacci

Dialta Orlandi’s (left) late mother, Liana Beacci (right), was born out of wedlock to wealthy collector Sir Harold Acton

When Sir Harold died in 1994, he left his 14th Century Florence mansion - which houses the art empire - to New York University because he did not have any known children

When Sir Harold died in 1994, he left his 14th Century Florence mansion – which houses the art empire – to New York University because he did not have any known children

‘It’s about 25 years that NYU has fought us not to have the paternity of my mother recognized,’ Orlandi told Page Six. 

‘Finally, the respect and consequent rights that are owed to my mother for much too long have been given to her.’

The Villa La Pietra, which boasts the 6,000-piece collection, is described as the ‘the jewel in the crown of New York University’s global program’.

The Villa La Pietra, which boasts the 6,000-piece collection, is described as the 'the jewel in the crown of New York University's global program'

The Villa La Pietra, which boasts the 6,000-piece collection, is described as the ‘the jewel in the crown of New York University’s global program’

A 25-year court battle has now ruled Orlandi as the rightful heir to the estate after DNA evidence proved Beacci to be Sir Harold's (pictured) biological daughter

A 25-year court battle has now ruled Orlandi as the rightful heir to the estate after DNA evidence proved Beacci to be Sir Harold’s (pictured) biological daughter

However, if Beacci, who died in 2000, is now posthumously awarded an equal share of the art collection, it will pass to Orlandi. 

When Beacci died, Orlandi carried on the legal fight for the paintings so that her mother would formally be recognised as Sir Harold’s legitimate daughter. 

But Orlandi, whose husband is an art collector and claims to live a luxurious lifestyle, insisted that she has no interest in the money nor the estate but wanted the paintings and scupltures. 

The artwork in the Villa La Pietra includes ‘early Italian panel paintings, Flemish tapestries, Renaissance polychrome sculptures, French dresses, Art Nouveau silver, Chinese ceramics, and Baroque furniture’, according to its website. 

A piece painted by Edmond-François Aman-Jean in early 1900 hangs on the walls of the villa as part of the 6,000-strong colllection

A piece painted by Edmond-François Aman-Jean in early 1900 hangs on the walls of the villa as part of the 6,000-strong colllection

A Marco Palmezzano piece from 1503 is one of the 'early Italian panel paintings' which the house boasts

A Marco Palmezzano piece from 1503 is one of the ‘early Italian panel paintings’ which the house boasts

NYU spokesman John Beckman said the university was reviewing the court decision and was considering an appeal.

Villa La Pietra is currently used by the university as a campus for students doing a stint abroad. 

Sir Harold born in 1904 and spent his early years in Villa La Pietra before moving to England to study at Eton College and Oxford.

While at Oxford, he befriended future famed novelist Evelyn Waugh who is believed to have based the character Anthony Blanche in Brideshead Revisited on him.

When his father Arthur Acton – who was also the child of an affair – died in 1953, Villa La Pietra and the collection passed to Sir Harold. 

This Michelangelo Cinganelli was woven on a loom around 1622 and is one of the pieces of artwork amassed by Sir Harold Acton

This Michelangelo Cinganelli was woven on a loom around 1622 and is one of the pieces of artwork amassed by Sir Harold Acton

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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