Letter: Art donors' wishes

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The Independent Culture
Sir: The sale of Gainsborough's portrait from Marlborough College raises important questions about the respect due to donors from recipient institutions ("Daughter's fury at school's sale of Gainsborough gift", 6 May).

Because there were no conditions attached at the time of Mr Hony's gift, this fine portrait may now be sold abroad or to a private collector, despite the "profound opposition" of Mr Hony's daughters, who believe the college is not honouring their father's intentions.

This case highlights the vital importance of donors attaching clear written conditions to any gift or bequest. The National Art Collections Fund, which is an independent art charity, can act as a channel for gifts and bequests to museums, galleries and historic properties, and as a permanent guardian of the donor's wishes.

DAVID BARRIE

Director

National Art Collections Fund

London SW7

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