HC Deb 23 April 1928 vol 216 cc633-5

asked the. Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether, seeing that a decree of the Court of Chancery, dated 19th March, 1856, confided the Turner drawings to the care of the trustees of the National Gallery, meaning the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square, and that these trustees are now a separate body from the trustees of the Tate Gallery, he will restore them, in accordance with the original decree?

The FINANCIAL SECRETARY to the TREASURY (Mr. Arthur Michael Samuel)

Though a separate body of trustees has been set up for the National Gallery of British Art, Millbank, those trustees include the Director of the National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, and representatives of the trustees of that Gallery. Under the Treasury Minutes which govern the position, all the works of art at Millbank remain vested in the Trustees and Director of the National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, who retain their full legal responsibilities and have power to remove pictures to or from Millbank. The present arrangements, therefore, with regard to the Turner drawings are in accordance with the terms of the Chancery decree.


Do I understand that the responsibility for storing these drawings during the recent flood was that of the trustees of the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square and not of the trustees of the Millbank Gallery?


No, Sir. If the hon. Member will refer to my reply, he will see that I did riot deal with the storage matter.


What supervision do they exercise as to where these drawings are put?


I think, if the hon. Gentleman will read the answer, he will find that the information I have given covers that point.


Will the hon. Gentleman be good enough to go into this point: If there is not room for these drawings in either the Tate Gallery or the National Gallery in any place except the cellar, where they have reposed for the last 50 years, will he give an opportunity for some of the provincial art galleries to exhibit them?


I am perfectly certain that if application is made by provincial art galleries for permission to exhibit these drawings the trustees will give any application very favourable consideration.


Will the hon. Gentleman see that these drawings are kept intact and not divided up?


Is the hon. Gentleman taking any action with regard to the Lane pictures?