RA draws back from sell-off

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Senior artists last night postponed a decision on reforms to alleviate the pounds 3m financial crisis at the Royal Academy, writes David Lister.

But RA members ruled out any question of selling works from the collection, the most famous of which is Michelangelo's Madonna and Child, which would fetch at least pounds 5m.

A four-hour general assembly of Royal Academicians heard proposals by the secretary David Gordon and the president Sir Philip Dowson to modernise the 228-year-old institution.

The private meeting at the Academy in Piccadilly, London, was presented with a plan to set up a "review board", which would include businessmen and high-powered trustees to help manage the academy' s financial affairs. It would be answerable to the ruling council.

It was decided to defer a decision until February, when accounts prepared by Ernst and Young would be presented. Mr Gordon said: "All shades of possible opinion was expressed. Members were appreciative that the situation does give cause for concern, but we should not make a crisis out of a drama."