Letter: Protect works of art from moving

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The Independent Online
Sir: David Lister ("When treasure becomes a burden", 16 April) is free to draw his own conclusions about the Burrell Collection from the facts, but it is important that these facts are correct.

It is not the trustees who have "called in the parliamentary commissioners". The draft provisional order has been promoted by the City of Glasgow. The trustees have been obliged to oppose it formally as we are of the view that we have a prescribed agenda to follow, which is to uphold the terms of the gift so meticulously set out by Sir William Burrell.

In any event, the widened lending powers being sought will bring no benefit to the collection, although I suppose they might have a spin-off for Glasgow in tourism terms, but even that is arguable. The trustees have seen no evidence that Glasgow has "lost out" on any exhibitions because of the restrictions on lending items from the Burrell Collection abroad. In any event, there are many items in the rest of Glasgow's excellent collection which can be loaned without restriction.

The changes which the City seeks to make amount to somewhat more than "dots and commas". The draft provisional order seeks powers to lend items from the collection for exhibition in any public gallery or other public place in any part of the world, without being responsible for any damage or injury thereto or for any loss or depreciation thereof ... with such arrangements (if any) for insurance as the Council may decide. They thus want to sweep away the carefully negotiated lending terms inserted by Sir William in the memorandum of agreement and the will.

COLIN DONALD

(Senior Trustee

Sir William Burrell's Trust)

Stirling

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