LETTER : Merseyside treasure

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From Mr George J. Levy

Sir: With a budget deficit of more than pounds 60m, Liverpool City Council has made the deplorable and irrational decision to see the Town Hall's magnificent pair of Regency wine-coolers (made by A. Edmundson & Sons, the celebrated local cabinet makers) at public auction next month (the estimate is pounds 60,00). The National Art Collections Fund is rightly showing its disapproval by refusing to pledge pounds 25,000 of charitable funds in a bid to acquire them for the National Museums and Galleries on Merseyside.

Commissioned by the civic fathers in the early 19th century, these wine- coolers, and the grand group of furniture to which they belong, have been in the state dining room ever since and are part of Liverpool's heritage. June Dean in Furniture History, vol. XXV (1989) describes how, in those days, when the town hall's furniture was being purchased

money was in plentiful supply ... which reflected the increasing prosperity of the port.

Sadly, this is not the case today in these gloomy times of local authority cutbacks. But surely this must be an urgent case for National Lottery funds to be used, enabling the National Museums and Galleries on Merseyside to make a direct purchase from Liverpool city council of the wine-coolers and the rest of this unique collection of furniture, which is still at risk.

And why not?

Yours faithfully,

George J. Levy

H. Blairman & Sons

London, W1

25 October