BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: Politics  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Tuesday, 8 October, 2002, 14:46 GMT 15:46 UK
Lord Irvine under fire over prized painting
Lord Irvine, the Lord Chancellor
Irvine had been accused of 'looting' artwork
The family of the former owner of a prized painting have expressed their "distress and anger" that it is hanging in the luxurious Westminster residence of Derry Irvine, the Lord Chancellor.

They claim The Beach at Trouville, by the 19th-century French artist Eugene Boudin, should be returned to the gallery it was loaned from.


The implication that it is only due to the philanthropy of the Lord Chancellor that they are now seen is... insulting and hurtful

Blair Agnew family
The masterpiece is one of five Boudins bequeathed to Edinburgh's National Gallery of Scotland by Jessie Blair Agnew at the time of her death in 1978.

Her family claim the paintings had been left on condition they were held together and should be displayed in an exhibition of Impressionist painting or be "available for the people of Scotland".

The painting, which was loaned by the Edinburgh gallery to the Palace of Westminster four years ago, was among 1m worth of art work taken from Scottish galleries to adorn Lord Irvine's abode.

Open to visitors

The move prompted Alex Salmond, the SNP former leader, to accuse the Lord Chancellor, at the time, of "looting and pillaging" Scottish art works.

The Beach at Trouville is currently on display in the Lord Chancellor's apartment, which the public can visit twice a week.

Only pre-booked groups can tour the residence and often these are organised by charities as a fund-raising exercise.

Artwork
A piece of artwork from a public gallery
Prince Charles heaped praise on the "wonderful" paintings on display in leaked letters between him and Lord Irvine.

The family of Jessie Blair Agnew wrote to the Evening Standard newspaper in London expressing their "distress and anger" that the work was hanging in Lord Irvine's residence.

"The implication that it is only due to the philanthropy of the Lord Chancellor that they are now seen is to us both insulting and hurtful - not to mention totally untrue," the family said.

"The Boudins within the bequest were displayed, as intended, at the National Gallery of Scotland and have been exhibited as 'Boudin at Trouville' in the Burrell Collection in Glasgow and the Courtauld Institute in London."

Return to sendert

A Lord Chancellor's department spokeswoman said the painting would be returned if the National Gallery of Scotland asked for it back, but the family's concerns had been passed on.

"The clear agreement between the palace authorities and the lending galleries is that any painting will be returned upon request," she said.

"The terms on which this painting was bequeathed to the National Gallery of Scotland in 1978 are a matter for the family and the gallery.

"We assume that the National Gallery of Scotland will want to check the terms by which this painting was bequeathed.

"If then the gallery feels it should be returned, it will be."

See also:

19 Feb 01 | Politics
21 Feb 01 | Politics
20 Apr 98 | UK

E-mail this story to a friend



© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes