Well, the Duke's Titians certainly stirred up a few emotions. My personal view is that there is a great imbalance over money provided for arts projects of all kinds and the heritage world generally within the UK. Museums and galleries that have had very long term loans of objects have always suffered as a result of lenders wishing - for whatever reasons - to dispose of their assets. Very often, an object may be at the very core of the museum's collections and it does seem a shame when they are effectively forced to seek funding to retain what may have been on public exhibition for generations. The Titians are just the tip of the iceberg. It also depends, I suspect, on how popular the subject matter is. Apparently - and this poll may have been solely within the arts sector - the result of a survey when the first of the two Titians came up for sale was that some 75% of respondents were of the view that these paintings were so important to the nation that they should be acquired.
Anyway. Back on topic - and, coincidentally another £50M costing - is the funding being provided for HMS Victory
to be trnssferred to a new charity - the HMS Victory
Preservation Trust - from April 1st. That's not a joke, by the way. The ship will become the Flagship of the First Sea Lord and remain available for use by the Royal Navy but it is now not deemed to be appropriate for the MOD to continue as owner. £25M is being given to the new Trust (affiliated to the National Museunm of the Royal Navy) by The Gosling Foundation and £25M by the MOD. Currently a spend of £16M has been underway sincce last year to pay BAe Systems for the first stages of what will be the ship's biggest ever restoration. Although much work was done during the 15 years prior to the bicentenary of the Battle of Trafalgar in 2005, the recent survey work has effectively concluded that HMS Victory
is collapsing under her own weight.
Amazingly, however, the report on BBC South Today on Tuesday included an interview with the Chairman of the Trustees who stated that "he thought that it would be VERY EASY to continue to provide funding from the public and commercial sources". We shall see!