Treasures saved for the nation

Friday 13 May 2011Sunita Sharma+44 (0)207 273 8299,

Masterpieces of British, European and Islamic art along with important historical and literary papers and a spectacular crystal specimen from India have come into public ownership during 2010-11 through the Acceptance in Lieu Scheme, announced today (12 May 2011).

The government scheme, currently administered by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA), allows those liable to Inheritance Tax to pay their tax bill by offering important heritage objects to the nation. In 2010-11, 29 cases were completed and a wide range of important works of art have been brought into public ownership for the enjoyment of everyone.

Twentieth century art includes work by British post-War Neo-romantic artist Keith Vaughan (1912-1977) with three of his finest works being accepted from the estate of Professor John Ball who had known Vaughan and became a highly respected authority on the artist and a painting by the little-known Leeds artist Bruce Turner.

Two works by the Italian 20th-century master, Georgio Morandi have been accepted, a still-life has been permanently allocated to the Tate and a landscape to the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, in accordance with the conditions of the offerors. A fine still-life by Maurice de Vlaminck from the period immediately before the First World War has also been accepted.

Two fine portraits from 1920s of major statesmen were accepted in 2010-11. Sir James Guthrie’s Portrait of Andrew Bonar Law depicts the Conservative Prime Minister towards the end of his life. Sir William Orpen’s Portrait of Sir Frederick Sykes depicts one of the most important figures in the early development of the Royal Air Force who was Chief of the Air Staff in the last months of World War I. In later life following a political career he became Governor of Bombay and his star and badge as a Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Star of India and as Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire have been accepted and allocated to the Royal Air Force Museum, Hendon.

Important archives accepted for the nation include the complete papers of the novelist J G Ballard which has been allocated to the British Library; awards and presentations made to the playwright, Harold Pinter; the papers of the explorer Charles Sturt (1795-1869); the Butler family archive containing the papers of three generations of a family who made important contributions to scholarship and public service; the traveller, writer and photographer Robert Byron (1905-1941)'s archive including the extensive photographic archive of the many places he visited in the 1920s and 30s including Mount Athos, Iran and Afghanistan and the archive of the Savile family of Rufford Abbey.

A fine group of four drawings from the 18th and 19th centuries including a superb ‘Turkish’ drawing in red and black chalk by the Swiss artist Jean-Etienne Liotrad (1702-1789) depicting two ladies in Turkish costume seated on a divan playing the board-game, mancala. Liotard retained the drawing until he sold it at Christie’s in 1774 and it has remained in various English collections ever since and has been allocated to the British Museum. The other drawings include a landscape by Jean-Honoré Fragnoard (1732-1806) and a fine pencil drawing made in Rome in 1815 by Ingres of Katarina Bibikov, the widow of Marshall Kutusov the great Russian general who chased Napolean out of Russia in 1812. The final drawing in the group is a double-sided sheet of figure studies by Watteau (1684-1721) whose superb draughtsmanship is currently delighting visitors to The Royal Academy.

Other fine art objects accepted in 2010-11 include a small oil by Francesco Guardi (1712-1793) of the Palazzo Lordean dell’ Ambasciatoe on the Grand Canal, Venice. Two English portraits, Sir Joshua Reynolds’s Lady Honywood and her daughter and Sir Thomas Lawrence’s Emily Mary Lamb demonstrate the achievements of English portraiture in the Georgian age.

The most unusual item accepted in lieu in the year is a large rock crystal from India, 38 by 43 by 8cm in size. It is a specimen of the mineral prehnite which through a rare geological process called pseudomorphing has taken the form of the mineral laumontite. The process happens during a hydromthermal event and can take millions of years and results in one mineral species replacing another while maintaining the crystallographic form of the original. The result is a dramatic display specimen which has been allocated to the Natural History Museum.

Two superb examples of decorative art have been allocated to the Victoria and Albert museum: a rare and magnificent 16th-century Ottoman jade tankard decorated possibly in the 18th and19th centuries with gold inlaid rubies and emeralds and a fine example of contemporary jewellery from the 1970s, “Annie’s Necklace” by Charlotte de Syllas (born 1946). It is crafted in black jade, opal, rock crystal and white 18 ct. gold necklace.

Sir Andrew Motion, MLA Chair, says, "The Acceptance in Lieu scheme sets a world-class standard for the transfer of cultural heritage from private hands into public ownership. The scheme continues to play a hugely important part in developing the heritage and wealth of our nation's cultural life. The achievement this year is once again a rich tapestry of acquisitions to engage the public and for everyone to enjoy.

"The MLA has been proud to be responsible for administering the programme and we are confident that our work will be taken forward effectively and efficiently by Arts Council, who inherit it later this year. We continue to depend on the good judgement and wise perception of the unremunerated, volunteer members of the AIL Panel, under their Chair Jonathan Scott and lately under Tim Knox, without whom excellence would be vulnerable and sustainability would be in doubt. They have been ably served by the staff of the MLA, to whom I also offer special thanks in what has been a challenging year for them.”

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey, says, “I am pleased to see the Acceptance in Lieu scheme continues to enhance public collections in museums, libraries and archives across the UK for the enjoyment and pleasure of all. The Scheme is an outstanding example of private philanthropy in the cultural sector and has been responsible for ensuring that beautiful works of art and precious items remain in this country for the benefit of future generations."



DescriptionAllocatedTax Settled
Basildon Park Chattels NT ( Basildon Park) £696,920
Guardi: Palazzo Loredan National Museum Wales £147,326
Lawrence: Portrait of Emily Mary Lamb To be confirmed (t b c) £472,500
Rock crystal National History Museum £3,661
Vlaminck: Still-life t b c £42,000
Watteau drawing NGS £42,500
Liotard drawing British Museum £560,000
Fragonard drawing Ashmolean Museum £52,500
Ingres: Madame Kutusov Fitzwilliam £56,000
Giorgio Morandi: Still life Tate £140,000
‘Annie’s necklace’ by Charlotte de Syllas V&A £21,000
J G Ballard archive British Library £350,000
Kidderminster Portraits Worcester AG £23,800
Gauguin print t b c £56,000
Bruce Turner: Pavlova t b c £13,321
Harold Pinter Awards British Library £42,000
W Van de Velde: Two paintings NT (Buckland Abbey) £420,000
Butler Family archive Bodleian Library £42,000
Robert Byron photos t b c £70,000
Portraits of Robert Byron t b c £14,000
Savile of Rufford archive t b c £191,000
Ottoman Jade Tankard Victoria & Albert Museum £368,242
Papers of Charles Sturt t b c £350,000
Gerogio Morandi: Landscape Fitzwilliam Museum £175,000
William Orpen: Sir Frederick Sykes RAF Museum £42,000
Medals of Sir Frederick Sykes RAF Museum £28,000
James Guthrie: Arthur Bonar Law t b c £42,000
Keith Vaughan: Three paintings t b c £357,000
Reynolds: Lady Honywood & daughter t b c £114,644

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    The Scheme enables taxpayers to transfer important works of art and heritage objects into public ownership while paying Inheritance Tax.


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