Art for tax breaks hits record

Works of art by such artists as Barbara Hepworth, Naum Gabo, Pissarro, William Blake and Manet have been used to settle tax bills worth £40m in 2019/20, a record.

The pieces have come into the national collections via the Acceptance in Lieu scheme in which art can be used to pay inheritance tax, and the more recent Culture Gifts Scheme which allows transfers during the owner’s lifetime.

It means an eclectic range of objects including paintings, sculptures, fossils, photographs, prints, archives and manuscripts have been allocated to public collections across the UK.

The items, which together have an estimated market value of £65m, include of 32 monoprints by Naum Gabo which have been allocated across to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, The Pier Arts Centre in Orkney, the Fitzwilliam Museum and Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge, and The Hepworth Wakefield. There are also important fossil collections, a 42-foot geological diagram of the north of England, and the archive of the record sleeve designer Barney Bubbles. There are also paintings by Leonard Rosoman which depict the first gay kiss, 15 works by Frank Auerbach including an early oil painting depicting Juliet Yardley Mills (pictured here), and a charcoal drawing by R.B. Kitaj, and landscape painting by Spencer Gore which has been acquired by North Hertfordshire Museum in Hitchen, four miles from the scene it depicts.

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