Letter: Mahon's gift
Wednesday 23 June 1999
Sir Denis's collection is particularly strong in paintings of the Italian Baroque period, including such masters as Guercino, Guido Reni and Domenichino. These pictures will undoubtedly plug gaps in the National's collection.
However, Sir Denis felt it necessary to stipulate that the pictures are on indefinite loan only. Upon his death, the paintings will pass to the National Art Collections Fund, which will act as guardian of the collection, and ensure that his wishes are upheld.
His passionately held belief is that access to our national collections should continue to be free of charge. Some time ago, when the introduction of admission charges to public collections was proposed, Sir Denis was one of the most eloquent opponents of this pernicious idea.
It would appear that Sir Denis and the trustees of the National Gallery have come to some accommodation. Nevertheless, Sir Denis is right to be cautious, because it is difficult to anticipate not only the future trends, fashions and policies of our national collections, but also politically expedient government directives. By making an independent organisation with clout, such as NACF, guardian of the collection, he has ensured that his pictures will be accessible to everyone regardless of their income.
By giving his wonderful collection to the nation, Sir Denis has performed a great public service. But if he has helped to keep access to our museums and art galleries free of charge, he will have carried out an even greater service to us all.
Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
- 2 Germanwings plane crash: Video shows co-pilot Andreas Lubitz learning to fly as a teenager
- 3 Vladimir Putin says Russia will fight for the right of Palestinians to their own state
- 4 Germanwings crash: Captain of doomed plane was only 'on board because he changed job to spend more time with his children'
- 5 WrestleMania 31 results: Seth Rollins stuns WWE as he cashes in Money in the Bank contract to claim title from Brock Lesnar
Cassetteboy joins forces with Russell Brand for Emperor's New Clothes film
Poldark, review: Demelza’s insouciance is almost as impressive as Ross’ pecs
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
James May hints he will not continue on Top Gear without Jeremy Clarkson
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity, TV review: The affable Englishman routine is wearing a bit thin
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans