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National Museum Of Wales

Volume 32: debated on Wednesday 24 November 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Wales what is the annual grant-in-aid to the National Museum of Wales for the years 1979–80, 1980–81 and 1981–82; and how much is for purchases.

The annual grant-in-aid to the National Museum of Wales was £4,095,000 in 1979–80, £4,980,000 in 1980–81 and £5,787,000 in 1981–82. Of these amounts the amounts designated for purchases were £598,000, £778,000 and £877,000, respectively.

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what was the cost of the purchase of the Rubens cartoons by the National Museum of Wales; and how much of it was grant aided by his Department.

It was a condition of the purchase that the price should not be divulged. The purchase was financed almost entirely from grant resources.

asked the Secretary of State for Wales whether he was consulted by the National Museum of Wales before it purchased the Rubens cartoons; when such consultation took place; and for what purpose.

No. During my period in office the then permanent secretary of the Department was informed by the director in June 1979 that the museum had decided to purchase the cartoons. In so informing him the director requested a special grant towards the purchase, but this was refused.

asked the Secretary of State for Wales whether he will place in the Library correspondence between himself, his Office and the National Museum of Wales regarding the purchase of the Rubens cartoons.

I am considering the matter and I shall write to the right hon. and learned Member.

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what machinery exists for his Department to obtain artistic advice when purchases of valuable works of art are made by the National Museum of Wales and the National Library of Wales.

None. It is for the museum and library authorities to obtain any artistic advice considered necessary when such acquisitions are made.

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what is the responsibility of his Department when purchases of works of art at substantial cost are made by the National Museum of Wales and the National Library of Wales.

Decisions on individual purchases are a matter for the institution concerned. The responsibility of my Department is in setting the amount of annual purchase grant and ensuring that the institutions have adequate internal financial procedures.