County plans to sell most of its art

Hertfordshire wants to concentrate on just 167 valuable pieces

Hertfordshire is planning to sell most of its artworks to raise money.

The county council has embarked on a consultation exercise over the future of its 1,828 works or art, valued at £26.2m and is suggested that it can dispose of nearly 90% of them to concentrate on a small number of works significant to the county. Some of the sale price will be used to maintain the remainder of the artworks.

A total of 428 artworks are set to be disposed of in the first round, while plans for the disposal of the remaining 1,232 works will be decided later in 2018.

The move follows a review in 2016 to ascertain which items are important to the cultural heritage of the county. Last year, councillors agreed that “the collection be rationalised to provide a Hertfordshire-significant collection of 167 works that can be effectively managed for the people of Hertfordshire.” said a spokeswoman for the county council. These include four Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth sculptures, which alone are insured for £21.85m.

She added, “The majority of the works were part of the Schools Loan Collection which was started in the 1950s. However, the evolving curriculum, modern technology and the interactive approach of local and national galleries and museums has made this service redundant. The majority of the collection (approximately 80 per cent) is currently in secure storage, with the remainder on display in schools, libraries, museums and other public buildings. The county council has a responsibility to use its assets effectively.”

The council says that it is following Museum Association guidelines on disposals.


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