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Last Updated: Friday, 27 October 2006, 15:04 GMT 16:04 UK
Missing painting found in a store
arts masks
The Arts Council develops the arts in Northern Ireland
The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has said it has tracked down one of 52 missing art works.

The oil painting, worth 6,000, was found after checks with the council's transport company revealed that the work was in its store.

The council was criticised by the Audit Office in July for losing pieces and the way it manages a 2.7m collection.

Next week, the council will publish on its website details of the 51 works which are still missing.

The oil painting, Relic, by Belfast artist Mark Pepper, went missing in May and was found in August.

This month, the council wrote to everyone who had borrowed works from it in the past, in the hope of finding more missing art.

The Arts Council could face a Public Accounts Committee investigation into the way it manages its art collections.

Earlier this year, the Audit Office said there was a history of art works being lost from the council's 1,200-strong collection.

Accurate inventories

Auditor general John Dowdall said there was "a history of poor controls and record management which resulted in the loss of a number of works from the council's collection".

The Arts Council said a new electronic collection management system had addressed the Audit Office's concerns.

The Arts Council, which is the leading development agency for the arts in Northern Ireland, said it had co-operated fully with the Audit Office and recognised there were "historical failures" in its management system.

The Audit Office report concluded that the council was now taking steps to ensure that, in future, up-to-date accurate inventories were maintained.

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