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National Gallery Paintings (Cleaning)

Volume 437: debated on Thursday 8 May 1947

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asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his attention has been drawn to the drastic manner in which the Velasquez paintings in the National Gallery have been cleaned; and whether he will make a statement.

This is a matter which falls within the discretion of those responsible for the management of the National Gallery.

But as the Financial Secretary has answered the Question instead of asking for it to be disallowed, will he say whether he is aware that a great many people think that the Velasquez Philip IV has been very nearly ruined, and will he inquire whether the trustees are taking the best possible advice, including that of professional artists?

I understand that this matter does not concern me at all. If the hon. Gentleman required that information he should address his Question to the proper quarter.

Will the Minister tell us to whom it should be addressed in order that it may be quite clear that the too rapid cleaning of these pictures is causing considerable disquiet, and that the irrevocable damage to them is more important than "passing the buck" from one Minister to another?