Tate asks Lords to return its paintings

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The Independent Online
The Tate Gallery has demanded that the House of Lords return six paintings, loaned by the gallery. The best known of the six is Landseer's Dialogue At Waterloo which hangs in the Peers' Guest Room and which was lent as long ago as 1985.

Sandy Nairne, assistant director at the Tate, said the gallery needed its paintings back for the opening at the end of next year of The Tate Gallery of British Art. The present Millbank site will be devoted to the history of British Art when the modern art collection moves to the new Tate Gallery of Modern Art at Bankside, south-east London. Mr Nairne also said that it was now Tate policy to lend paintings not on display to regional galleries and museums rather than to the House of Lords.

However, he added that the Tate had originally asked for the paintings back this year, but had agreed to a request from the Lords to extend the loan for a further year. Despite the extension, the return of the paintings led to an anxious debate in the House of Lords on Thursday. Baroness Rawlings urged that the Tate director Nicholas Serota be asked "to reconsider the matter and think of some other paintings to lend to this House".

The chairman of committees, Lord Boston of Faversham, said: "I have no doubt that a way will be found to pass on her wishes, which were echoed around this Chamber ... Mr Nicholas Serota and others ... have been tremendously helpful."