The Telegraph‘s Rupert Christiansen catalogues recent attempts in the UK to raise cash through art sales:
As part of an effort to raise £15 million for a new museum devoted to the Titanic, Southampton City Council has decided to trawl through the 3,500 works of art owned by its outstandingly good Art Gallery and send a selection of them off to the open market.
This triage is euphemistically known in the business as “deaccessioning” and it’s controversial. Royal Holloway College sold a Turner, Constable and Gainsborough from its founder’s bequest, Bury Council raised £1.4 million by selling a publicly owned painting by LS Lowry, and last year Christie’s auctioned canvases by Burne-Jones and Albert Moore from the Watts Museum to raise money for its endowment. In all such cases the cash may go directly to worthy cultural causes, but the accusations that the family silver is being sold off have left unease and a sense of betrayal in some quarters.