Cultural Treasures Saved For The Nation

Important paintings, furniture and an archive are among cultural treasures that have been accepted in lieu of inheritance tax, Arts Minister Tessa Blackstone announced today.

The Minister also announced the allocation of eight offers previously accepted in lieu. They have been allocated to public  museums, galleries and archives in Manchester, Liverpool, Oxford, Cambridge, Leeds and London.  The Stanley Spencer Gallery, Cookham, the River and Rowing Museum, Henley on Thames and the Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston have all benefited from the Acceptance in Lieu Scheme for the first time.

Baroness Blackstone said:
"Once again I am delighted with the success of the Acceptance in lieu scheme.  This initiative offers members of the public much more than an exciting opportunity to see many previously inaccessible works of art; it also helps to ensure that new acquisitions are widely distributed throughout the country, and operates to the benefit of former owners." 

The Arts Minister's decisions follow recommendations made by Resource that the items are sufficiently pre-eminent to be accepted by the nation and that they are correctly valued.

Mark Wood, Resource's Acting Chairman, commented:
"The range and quality of the items which Acceptance in Lieu has secured demonstrates once again how successful this scheme has become. Resource, with overall responsibility for the AIL programme, is delighted that not only uniquely important paintings, but archives of immense cultural significance have now been made available for the public. We are also pleased that the AIL Panel has for the first time recommended the allocation of items to galleries in Preston, Henley and Cookham."
The objects that have been accepted are:

  • A group portrait by William Hogarth which satisfies £630,000 worth of tax;
  • The typescripts of Anthony Powell CH, CBE which satisfy £420,000 worth of tax;
  • A silver two-handled basket, known as the Capel Basket, which satisfies £305,508 worth of tax;
  • Thirty two watercolours by Edward Lear which satisfy £297,500 worth of tax;
  • The professional archive of Sir Leslie Martin which satisfies £245,000 worth of tax;
  • A painting by Jean-Francois Millet which satisfies £245,000 worth of tax;
  • Four Early Nineteenth-century bookcases by Gillows which satisfy £116,296 worth of tax;
  • Chattels from Dudmaston, Shropshire which satisfy £126,861 worth of tax;
  • A pair of George I walnut and seaweed-marquetry side chairs and an Egyptian bronze figure of a ram which satisfy £98,198 worth of tax;
  • Three paintings by John Piper and one by Ivon Hitchins, which satisfy £32,900 worth of tax;
  • The Journals of Robert Curzon which satisfy £24,500 worth of tax;
  • A painting by Ben Nicholson known as Cumberland Farm which satisfies £24,500 worth of tax.

Notes to Editors

1. Images of the Hogarth painting, Lear watercolours, Nicholson and Millet paintings can be obtained free of charge via our site on Picselect the Press Association's publicity image service. Please go to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport folder situated within the Arts section of Picselect either at or through PA bulletin board.

2. Details of the items accepted in lieu of inheritance tax are:

  • Group Portrait by William Hogarth
    This Group Portrait by Hogarth ( 1697-1764) is thought to depict  Catherine Darnley, Duchess of Buckingham at Buckingham House (now Buckingham Palace), around 1736, with two ladies of her family or close acquaintances.  Hogarth is widely regarded as the outstanding exponent of the conversation-piece although his pictures of this type are quite rare with many in American collections.
  • The typescripts of Sir Anthony Powell CH
    Anthony Powell (1905-2000) was one of the leading novelists of his generation and this archive includes the corrected typescripts of all his novels, with the single exception of Venusberg, 1932.  His greatest achievement is the twelve-novel sequence A Dance to the Music of Time (1951-1975) which chronicles the lives of a group of acquaintances across 50 years from the outbreak of World War I to the early 1970s.  Included also are the typescripts of Powell's four volumes of autobiography To Keep the Ball Rolling (1976-1982).  Powell always composed straight onto a typewriter so there are no manuscripts of his works.  The typescripts have ink and pencil corrections which show the author honing and developing his distinctive style with extensive additions, deletions and changes.
  • The Capel Basket
    This offer is of a silver two-handled basket, known as the Capel Basket, made by Pierre Harache in London in 1686.  It weighs 111ozs, 10dwt.  It is of a form which is very rare in English silver and is of exceptional quality both in its design and in its workmanship.  It has the added interest of being a very early example of Harache's workmanship which displays his mastery of the Parisian court style.  The design represents the cutting-edge of style of its period.  Although, undoubtedly made in England, it has been described as, "an exceptionally rare piece of French silver, made by a Frenchman, using French designs and techniques." 
  • Thirty two watercolours by Edward Lear
    This offer is of 32 watercolours of Greece by Edward Lear (1812-1888).  The majority of the items are in pencil, pen and ink and watercolour with signatures, dates and inscriptions.  They show the close affinity Lear had with Greece, which itself mirrors the close political relations between the UK and the emerging Greek state.
  • The professional archive of Sir Leslie Martin (1908-2000)
    This archive includes the correspondence, teaching documents, annotated architectural books, architectural drawings, plans and models of the distinguished architect Sir Leslie Martin.  His most famous building is the Royal Festival Hall, but he was also responsible for many other buildings including many post war university campuses around England, including those of Cambridge, Egham, Hull, Leicester and Oxford.  Sir Leslie was also behind the unrealised plan to replace much of Victorian Whitehall with buildings thought to be in keeping with Britain's post-War role and image. 
  • A painting by Jean-Francois Millet (1642-1679)
    This painting by Millet is known as An extensive Italianate landscape.  Millet was born in Antwerp to French parents and settled in Paris in the 1660's.  According to contemporary literature, Millet began his career painting copies of modern and Old Master paintings for the collector Everard Jabach and an inventory compiled after Jabach's death included fifty seven references to Millet's paintings both copies and original works.  Millet has less than ten works on public display in the UK.
  • Four Early Nineteenth century bookcases by Gillows 
    These four Regency bookcases were designed and built by Gillows of London and Lancaster.  They were built for Nostell Priory, Yorkshire which was given to the National Trust in 1952.  Gillows were commissioned by the owner of Nostell Priory, Charles Winn, for additional shelving to house his book collection.  The bookcases were designed to harmonise with the existing library furniture which had been designed by Adam and Chippendale.  They have been allocated to the National Trust for display at Nostell Priory.
  • Chattels from Dudmaston, Shropshire
    This offer consists of a late 17th century suite of William and Mary walnut seat furniture (two settees and nine chairs) and twenty nine Chinese ceramics.  All of the items are from Dudmaston which was given to the National Trust by the LabouchPre family in 1978.  The furniture originally came from Burley-on-the-Hill, home of Daniel Finch (2nd Earl of Nottingham and 6th Earl of Winchelsea).  The ceramics were collected in China and added to the existing collection at Dudmaston.  The items have been allocated to the National Trust for display at Dudmaston.
  • A pair of George I walnut and seaweed-marquetry side chairs and an Egyptian bronze figure of a ram.
    The chairs were almost certainly made for Edward Harley, 2nd Earl of Oxford (d. 1741) for Wimpole Hall, Cambridgeshire and remained there until the house and contents were sold in 1894.  The chairs are examples of the Louis XIV 'antique' fashion promoted by Daniel Marot.  The chairs are likely to date to the 1710s and made for a bedroom apartment and would have been originally upholstered en suite with an elaborately draped bed.  The Egyptian bronze dates to the 4th century BC and depicts a striding animal with realistically modeled body and finely sculpted face horns and mane.  It is 5 inches high.  The ram was sacred to the Egyptian god Amun and associated with Re, the sun god.  The sculpture would have served as a votive offering and combines Egyptian iconography with the natural observation and modeling of Greek Art.
  • Three paintings by John Piper and one by Ivon Hitchins
    These four paintings date from the 1930's and belong to a period in both artists' careers when they were at their most innovative.  Hitchins (1893-1979) painted Wooded Landscape in 1934, which is thought to be an early and rare example by this artist who developed a distinctive style between abstraction and figuration.  Piper (1903-1992) was by the 1930's making a significant contribution to British Modernism.  He painted Three bathers beside the sea in 1933 and Haford Gardens and Llyn Liyncaws in 1939.
  • Journals of Robert Curzon
    Robert Curzon (1810-1873) was also known as the 14th Baron Zouche.  The Journals record his journeys in the Middle East during the 1830's and were used as a basis for his famous book Visits to the Monasteries of Levant.  The manuscript is accompanied by over fifty pen and ink and wash drawings, mostly by an unknown hand.  During the course of his travels, Curzon collected many important manuscripts which are now in the British Library.
  •  A painting by Ben Nicholson known as Cumberland Farm
    This work by Ben Nicholson was painted around 1928 and belongs to a group of works painted by the artist when he was living in Cumberland during the late 1920's.  The painting has been described as both rare and important, as Nicholson went on to develop the abstract style in which he worked for the rest of his life.  The painting has been allocated to Brighton and Hove City Council for display at Brighton Museum and Art Gallery.

3. Details of items that have been accepted previously and have now been allocated are as follows:

  • The Stanley Spencer Gallery, Cookham-on-Thames has been allocated View from Cookham Bridge by Stanley Spencer.  For further information please see DCMS News Release 139/2002.
  • Three Works by John Piper (for further information regarding this offer please refer to DCMS News Release 139/2002).  The Tate Gallery has been allocated fifty-five sketchbooks of John Piper (1903-1992), the Victoria and Albert Museum has been allocated a watercolour of Set Design for Cranks for display at the Theatre Museum and String Solo has been allocated to the River and Rowing Museum, Henley on Thames.
  • Preston City Council has been allocated a painting by Arthur Devis (1711-1787) entitled The Reverend and Mrs Streynsham Master for display at the Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston.  For further information please see DCMS News Release 139/2002.
  • The Museums of Costume, Manchester has been allocated an important collection of 17th and 18th century clothes and textiles.  For further information please refer to DCMS news release 139/2002.
  • Two Dutch flower paintings. One painting is by Roelandt Savery (1576-1639), entitled A still life of irises, a tulip, roses, violets and other flowers, in a roemer with a dragonfly, a lizard and a frog on a ledge has been allocated to the Fitzwilliam Museum. The second is by Balthasar van der Ast (c1593-1656) and is entitled A Still life of an iris, a lily, a carnation, tulips, roses and other flowers in a pewter jug, with shells, a grasshopper and petals nearby on a ledge, a spider and butterfly resting on blooms, and a bee above has been allocated to the National Gallery.   Please refer to DCMS news release 139/22.
  • A gold chocolate cup and cover has been allocated to Temple Newsam House, Leeds.  For further information please refer to DCMS news release 139/2002.
  • The archives of the 13th, 14th and 15th Earls of Derby have been allocated to Liverpool Record Office for an initial period of five years.  For further information please refer to DCMS news release 24/02.

4. Acceptance in Lieu (AIL)

  •  The provisions for the AIL procedure are contained in the National Heritage Act 1980, the Inheritance Tax Act 1984 and supplementary Finance Acts.  Among other things, the provisions empower the Commissioners of Inland Revenue to accept certain property in whole or part satisfaction of inheritance tax (and its predecessors, estate duty and capital transfer tax) and any interest thereon.
  • In practice, qualifying property typically falls into the following categories: land; buildings; works of art including pictures; books; prints; archives; manuscripts; furniture; craft objects; historic objects; scientific objects; technological objects; and other such items. Objects may be accepted if the Secretary of State agrees to their pre-eminence in terms of national, scientific, historic or artistic interest as well as their valuation and condition. Objects may also be accepted where they are associated with a particular building and where the Secretary of State believes it desirable for the object to remain associated with the building or acceptance may be agreed where objects have a significant association with a particular place. The Secretary of State has the power to direct where accepted property is placed and this includes provision to decide whether property may continue to be kept in a place with which it has a significant association. (This latter power enables the Secretary of State to decide if accepted items may be publicly displayed in situ.)  The public has access to all items accepted under the procedure - chattels go to public collections and land, building and in situ offers must allow public access.
  • Under the arrangements announced in the Spring Budget 1998, no acceptances in lieu require expenditure by the Department. Instead, the Revenue will accept items in lieu of taxes without seeking reimbursement from the Secretary of State.
  • The Revenue's Capital Taxes Office (CTO) refers competent offers of putatively "pre-eminent" or "associated" objects to the AIL Panel of Resource: The Council for  Museums, Archives and Libraries. 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. Resource also advises the Secretary of State on questions of the allocation (both temporary and permanent) of such property.  Where land or buildings are offered, the CTO refers direct to DCMS who consult advisers such as the Countryside Commission, the Forestry Authority and English Heritage. The Historical Manuscripts Commission advises the Secretary of State on the permanent allocation of records, archives and manuscripts.

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