Estelle Morris Announces Important Works Of Art Saved For The Nation Under Acceptance In Lieu Scheme
Arts Minister Estelle Morris today announced that works of art and heritage items worth more than £20 million have been saved, thanks to a national scheme which enables owners to offer items to the nation instead of paying Inheritance Tax.
The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA), which advises the Government on which items should be accepted under the Acceptance in Lieu (AIL) scheme, revealed for the first time which objects had been acquired during 2003/04 when it launched its Annual Report at a reception in London today.
The AIL scheme brings into the public domain objects or collections that were previously private property. Some of these were already on loan to a public collection; others may have been under threat of removal or sale abroad. This year, 24 items were accepted under the scheme and are now available for public benefit. These include important paintings by British and Continental masters, fine silver, sculpture and notable archives.
Amongst them are:
- Two works by Constable: Hampstead Heath, with Pond and Bathers, painted on the evening of George IV's Coronation July 19, 1821, and Study for 'The Cornfield' which shows the Suffolk lane which Constable walked every day on his way to school and which is closely related to one of the artist's most iconic works. Acceptance of these offers satisfies £175,000 and £1,925,000 worth of tax respectively.
- Turner's The Chain Bridge over the River Tees. This has long been admired as one of Turner's finest watercolours, and was single out for particular admiration by the Victorian critic John Ruskin. Acceptance of this offer satisfies £154,000 worth of tax.
- A bronze statuette Comedy and Tragedy: Sic Vita by Sir Alfred Gilbert, who also sculpted 'Eros' in Piccadilly Circus. The model, Angelo Colorrosi, is the same for both statues. This offer satisfies £17,500 worth of tax.
- Photographic archive of explorer and travel writer Sir Wilfred Thesiger. Dating from 1933 to 1980s the images record his travels to Africa and Asia, and include stunning images of the Shia Muslim Marsh Arabs of Southern Iraq. The offer satisfies £108,704 worth of tax.
- A collection of 57 Scottish Portraits relating to the Somervell family of Sorn in Ayrshire (£79,023 worth of tax).
- Over 500 acres of land, including ancient woodland, adjoining Wentworth Castle, Barnsley, South Yorkshire (£617,710 worth of tax).
All 24 of the objects will be made available to the public, in many cases for the first time.
They will be distributed to museums, libraries and archives throughout the UK, including Burnley, Cambridge, Cheltenham, Liverpool, Manchester, Oxford, Paisley and the Isle of Wight, as well as to the National Trust for properties in Herefordshire, Powis and Surrey, English Heritage for Kenwood House, and to the British Museum, the National Gallery, Tate and the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Estelle Morris said:
"The Government's Acceptance in Lieu Scheme continues to be a huge success, saving important works of art and other culturally important items for the nation. The things we are saving today range from an exquisite study by John Constable, through to a glorious stretch of historic landscape in Wentworth. Large or small, each will now be available for everyone to enjoy for all time."
Mark Wood, Chair of MLA, added:
"Under AIL, artworks of the highest quality are brought into public collections, giving people the opportunity to enjoy the best of our cultural heritage. It is a very satisfying and successful part of our work.
"The range of material that has been saved for the nation this year reflects the enormous diversity of our cultural landscape. The photographic archive of Sir Wilfred Thesiger, for example, could hardly be more relevant to contemporary issues: he lived with the Marsh Arabs of Southern Iraq between 1951 and 1958, and his beautiful images are an important tool in our appreciation and understanding of a civilization that we see all too often only in terms of conflict and through the lens of the war correspondent."
The total value of heritage objects and land saved for the nation is £21.7 million and tax of just under £15 million was satisfied.
A detailed list of items acquired during 2003/04, including full case histories and the amount of tax satisfied, is given in the AIL Annual Report available at the MLA website http://www.mla.gov.uk/action/ail/00ail.asp.
Notes to Editors
This news release is issued today jointly with the MLA.
The Acceptance in Lieu (AIL) scheme enables taxpayers to transfer works of art and important heritage objects into public ownership while paying tax. The Revenue's Capital Taxes Office refers offers of "pre-eminent" or "associated" objects to the AIL Panel of Resource. The AIL Panel, having taken into account the views of independent experts, advises the Secretary of State on whether property offered is suitable for acceptance in lieu by the Commissioners of Inland Revenue, in terms of its pre-eminence, condition and valuation as well as any condition in the offer as to allocation.
- Criteria for pre-eminence: The AIL panel recommends items for acceptance that
- Have a close association with our national life and history
- Are of special artistic or art-historical importance
- Are of special importance for the study of some aspect of art, learning, or history, or
- Have a close association with a particular historic setting.
MLA also advises the Secretary of State on questions of the allocation (both temporary and permanent) of all items accepted in lieu except for manuscripts. Objects accepted under the scheme are allocated to a public institution eg. museum, archive or library to ensure that public access is guaranteed to as many people as possible.
MLA is the national development agency for museums, libraries and archives, advising the government on policy and priorities for the sector. MLA's roles are to provide strategic leadership, to act as a powerful advocate, to develop capacity and to promote innovation and change.
Museums, libraries and archives connect people to knowledge and information, creativity and inspiration. MLA is leading the drive to unlock this wealth, for everyone. For further information visit the MLA website at http://www.mla.gov.uk
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