Letter: A noble 19th-century vision subverted

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Sir: Nicholas Serota (Letters, 30 September) exposes the frailty of the claim by the Charity Commissioners to have sought expert advice on whether or not the three paintings by Gainsborough, Turner and Constable form an integral part of the Holloway Collection. Clearly no such advice was sought from the Tate Gallery, nor, I can confirm, from the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Our advice would have been that the account of 19th-century British art history which is represented in the Holloway Collection does depend on the presence of Gainsborough, Turner and Constable.

I might add that Holloway's noble vision of a college for young women, established in buildings and endowed with works of art as great as in any college for young men, should not be lightly put aside. The college authorities will find it hard to fulfil the founder's vision of a humane education if it is subverted in this way.

Yours faithfully,



Victoria and Albert Museum

London, SW7

23 October