That Rubens Painting


Valued at £11 million, it has been offered to Tate Britain for £6 million thanks to special tax concessions.

The Tate has so far secured over £1.56 million towards acquiring the sketch, including a grant of £500,000 from The Art Fund and £300,000 from Tate members.

Urging the public to help meet the £6 million target, Starkey said: "This work is of the utmost significance to British history. The Banqueting House ceiling is the most important painting set within an architectural context in England and this sketch is the key to its composition.

"The loss of the sketch would be a fundamental betrayal of our national heritage and it is inconceivable that it move from Britain."

This sketch has been in private hands (and not on public show) for two centuries. In what manner is it going on public display elsewhere in the world a "fundamental betrayal of our national heritage"\’ In what manner is it not being on public display elsewhere in the world such?

Sigh, it\’s the usual special interest group pleading: that those with a specific interest get to pick our pockets to attain their desires. There\’s a small group who really do gain great value from looking at such drawings and they co-opt the machinery of State to get everyone else to pay for it. They\’ve already got £5 million out of the Treasury coffers, £500,000 more directly in a cash grant from the Art Fund and given their reluctance to dig into their own pockets are asking you for yet more.

Bugger \’em. Those who value said art can pay for it…if they don\’t value it as much as others in the market do then tough.

6 thoughts on “That Rubens Painting”

  1. This is the sort of thing the lottery was for. Alas its been hijacked to pay for Government boondoggles and prop up NHS funding.

  2. This sketch has been in private hands (and not on public show) for two centuries.

    Are you sure the Lord in question didn’t have it on public display? There are enormous tax breaks available for owners of Important Art who deign to let the great unwashed see it every second Thursday…

    Anyway – the Tate are asking “those who value said art” to chip in with donations; they’re not asking for tax money. Surely this is the sort of “appealing to private donors’ desires to do the sort of thing they like” case of which you’d normally approve?

    Tim adds: You’re missing the £5.3 million of tax money they’ve already scored….

  3. I thought libertarians didn’t believe that “not paying tax on a thing” was the same as “being subsidised” – see your various arguments with Murphy, R…

  4. @ Kit – WTF? The government has agreed to waive £5m of tax that would otherwise be payable if the piece is sold to the Tate. It isn’t *donating* any money, it merely *isn’t charging the seller* money that it otherwise would charge him.

  5. john b, Can’t you see the result is the same? The government will be £5m poorer and the Tate will be £5m richer. I call that a donation.

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