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The Independent Culture
Aberdeen Art Gallery (left), unlikely as it may seem to the London- centric South, has one of the best collections of 20th-century British art in the country. This is due to the happy combination of well-structured bequests and brilliant curators who have consistently bought the best work new, when prices were still within their reach. They bought Augustus John in the 1920s, Wood and Wadsworth in the 1930s, Ravilious and Sutherland in the 1940s, and a Francis Bacon as early as 1956. It's a terrific collection, of which the city should be extremely proud, but the powers that be have recently cut the gallery's purchase grant by 97 per cent, effectively crippling any further development. So much for living in enlightened times.

Aberdeen Art Gallery, School Hill, Aberdeen (01224 646333). Open: Mon-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 2pm-5pm. Admission: free.

Richard Ingleby