Letter: Fitting setting for The Three Graces

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The Independent Online
Sir: It is a shame that James Fenton ('If it's perched on a table, it cannot be art', 29 August) chose last Saturday to visit the Victoria and Albert Museum's collection of Donatello sculptures. Because the gallery in which they are displayed has had to be closed temporarily for the installation of a fire alarm system, he did not have the chance to enjoy this great sculptor's work en masse, as would normally be the case. For a short period only, we have had to relocate some of these sculptures; but I am sure that Mr Fenton would agree that this is preferable to placing them in storage. In normal circumstances, they are given the prominence they deserve, in their own room and with special labels and text panels to explain their significance. They quite rightly remain among the most popular objects in the museum.

The ongoing improvement of the galleries at the V & A, bringing them into line with the statutory safety requirements laid down for public buildings, means that a certain amount of disruption is inevitable from time to time. I do hope that Mr Fenton will return to the museum in the near future, where he can see the most important collection of Italian Renaissance sculpture outside Italy.

Meanwhile, plans are afoot for the complete refurbishment and redisplay of the great sculpture gallery near the main entrance. This will eventually provide a handsome and fitting setting for the Three Graces, should the V & A and the National Galleries of Scotland be fortunate enough to raise the outstanding pounds 800,000 by 5 November.

Yours faithfully,


Curator of Sculpture

Victoria and Albert Museum

London, SW7

30 August

(Photograph omitted)