Lloyd Webber's charity rapped over 'art loans'

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The Independent Online

Andrew Lloyd Webber's art charity was rapped by the Charity Commission yesterday for allowing the theatre impresario to recall its pictures to hang them privately at his homes or offices.

The commission said that it was satisfied that Lord Lloyd-Webber had paid a licence fee, or rent, for the paintings which was set by an independent valuer. But it criticised the charity for creating the impression that its multi-millionaire founder was personally benefiting from the charity.

The commission criticised the trustees' decision to display painting of St Cecilia by John William Waterhouse at London's Palace Theatre during the run of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Woman in White which it argued "enhanced this perception of private benefit to the founder".

Its report said: "Such perceptions need to be appropriately managed by the trustees so as not to erode public trust and confidence in this charity and charities more generally."

The investigation was also told that there had been occasions when paintings had been recalled while on public display, coinciding with dignitaries viewing Lord Lloyd-Webber's private collection. The commission advised the trustees that paintings should not be recalled in this way as this was a private benefit.

However, the Commission found that there were clear benefits to the public from the charity both through the public display of the paintings at galleries and exhibitions and through the foundation's website.

A spokeswoman for the Andrew Lloyd Webber Art Foundation said the charity had accepted and implemented all the recommendations put forward by the commission.