Thursday, 8 December 2016

Our Council Has No Money? Here's The Solution

Cupid Delivering Pysche (1867) by Burne-Jones.
Not on display.
Our local Council, The London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham, continually tells us that they have no money, and they blame the Government's austerity policies for the lack of cash. So why not sell a few valuable assets to help protect vital services?

The Council owns the fifty-four works in the Cecil French Collection, donated to Fulham Borough Council in 1953, including pre-Raphaelite paintings by Sir Edward Burne-Jones, and Frederic Leighton

The art isn't on display, and there are no plans to show it. So what's the point of keeping it? Better surely to sell it, and release funds for local services.

According to the official LBH&F website, the collection was originally donated 1953 by Cecil French, who gave Fulham Council (as it then was) six works by Burne-Jones (who lived in North End Lane) for display in local public libraries.  In 1954 he gave more paintings, creating a very significant collection of pre-Raphaelite art.

The Avenging Angel by Burne Jones
None of this art can be seen today - it is in storage, too valuable to display. Since we don't have an art gallery in our Borough, and there are no plans to build one, what is the purpose of keeping it?

Art isn't sacred. It should be displayed (as Cecil French clearly intended) or, if that isn't possible, it should be sold to someone who will display it.

There are plenty of public galleries in the UK who might buy the collection and, even if it were sold to a private buyer, at least someone would get to enjoy it.

In the meantime, around £20m of money would be realised. Then our Council could maybe get around to fixing the playground at Hammersmith Park (amongst other long overdue repairs).

Or perhaps they could even afford to hang some Christmas lights in our streets.  Or fix Hammersmith Bridge.  Or reduce our £42m debt mountain.

Whatever they do with the money, it would surely be better than storing (and insuring) an art collection that no-one gets to see.

The Shepherd's Bush Blog offers a personal view on life in Shepherd's Bush. If you would like to contribute a story, email us at And don't forget to add your opinion in the comments section below.

1 comment:

  1. Apparently there ARE plans to showcase this collection....and you can see them here: