Letter: Mural restoration

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Sir: Your report of the dispersal of the contents of Penkill Castle, Ayrshire, and its subsequent sale (31 December) did not mention the most important work of art to remain - the mural The King's Quair, which covers the entire wall of the staircase tower. Painted by William Bell Scott between 1865 and 1869, it is the most extensive and remarkable scheme of pre- Raphaelite decoration in the British Isles.

It would be a welcome postscript to a sorry story if public money could be made available for its restoration - should the new owner so wish - in return for a modest degree of public access. This would erase some of the blot from the record of Scotland's conservation bodies, most notably the National Trust, which did virtually nothing to save those magical interiors for the nation, as they so evidently deserved.

Yours sincerely,



Visual Arts

Country Life

London, SE1

5 January