Letter: Tate's obligation to modern British art

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The Independent Online
Sir: As a postgraduate student of British 19th-century art at the Courtauld Institute and a registered London guide, I welcome the move to split the Tate Gallery (16 December).

It worries me somewhat that yesterday's announcement focused on the new section for modern art and fear that the museum for British art could be neglected as a result. Nick Serota's claim that the latter 'is not in any sense a parochial venture' hardly reassured me, for what could be more parochial than the present policy of displaying a tiny proportion of the collection and banishing major works to the vaults for a decade at a time?

This caters for a tiny public - essentially London-based regulars - and excludes the majority of visitors from the regions and from abroad. No wonder British art does not have much of a reputation - it is one of our best-kept secrets.

Yours faithfully,

JANE BURTON LANGLEY

London, N1

16 December

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