Tate Trustees today announced that one of the most important initiatives in the study of British art, the preparation and publication of the definitive catalogue of Tate’s works on paper by JMW Turner, including drawings, watercolours and sketchbooks, will receive funding of £1 million.
The money comes from the remaining £17 million of insurance money which Tate received when two works by Turner were stolen from an exhibition in Germany in 1994. The works were subsequently recovered, but as a result of the agreement between Tate and the insurers, a balance remained in Tate’s favour. Following the recovery of the paintings, Tate sought the advice of the Charity Commission as to how the insurance money could be spent. The Charity Commission discussed the matter with the Attorney General and then took the view that the insurance monies, together with the Turner Bequest itself, are held for the purposes set out in the Museums and Galleries Act 1992. The insurance is therefore available for the general purposes of the gallery and the Tate Trustees are free to use the funds for the benefit of the Collection as a whole.
In addition to the £1 million dedicated to the Turner catalogue, Tate’s Trustees have decided to allocate £10 million to Tate’s recently launched Collection initiative -Building the Tate Collection, the income from which will be used to purchase works of art to enhance the Collection. The balance of around £6 million will benefit the long-term care of the Collection including research, conservation, and improving access to Tate’s Collection Store in Southwark.
Sir Nicholas Serota, Director of Tate, said:
It was a great loss when the Turners were stolen in 1994 and it is a great relief for us to now be in a position to have both the paintings returned and a sum of money which will enhance our understanding of Turner, create opportunities to acquire works for the Collection and help us fulfil our responsibility for caring for it as a whole. This will benefit the whole Collection including works by Turner.
Dr David Blayney Brown, one of Tate’s Turner experts said:
This funding will allow us to fulfil the ambition of every Turner scholar which is to see the works on paper of Britain’s greatest landscape painter properly catalogued and contextualised with the aid of modern scholarship and the knowledge gained from nearly 100 years since AJ Finberg first set out on this task.