Letter: Lost watercolours

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The Independent Online
Sir: The disbursal earlier this week at Christies of the Godman Collection of watercolours for John Gould's The Birds of Great Britain (1862-73) is a sad reflection of the priority that is given by the nation's art collecting establishment. How such a supurb collection, made up of the work of such artists as Joseph Wolf who was domiciled in this country - unlike Canova - and who had such an influence on English artists such as Archibald Thorburn, could not be saved for the nation is a disgrace.

A unique collection of 232 original watercolours that were engraved as the celebrated Gould bird lithographs is surely of greater import to this country's national heritage than an elegant Italian marble that will be costing seven times as much as the Godman collection sold for.

Yours faithfully,

ALEC STIRLING

London, SW11

7 October

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