Fountains Abbey modern art proves National Trust is misguided – Yorkshire Post Letters

From: Simon Surtees, Pateley Bridge.

The use of artwork at Fountains Abbey continues to prompt much debate and discussion.

I VISITED Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal water gardens in late August with a couple of friends, one of whom had never visited the abbey before (Sarah Todd, The Yorkshire Post, October 30).

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As one of my favourite places on Earth, you can imagine my excitement at taking them.

The use of artwork at Fountains Abbey continues to prompt much debate and discussion.

However, I was absolutely horrified to see the absolutely monstrous so-called modern art pieces in the grounds which completely spoilt the visit for us.

We all thought that the spiky yellow inflatable piece protruding from the columns of the Temple of Piety could be nothing but a striking representation of a virus molecule – surely the height of bad taste in this current pandemic? We were not the only people to think this, judging by what others had to say.

Furthermore, we all thought that the 12 white pyramids in the water garden looked far more like the hats of the Ku Klux Klan, as if a group of them were about to rise up out of the waterway! Really quite horrific.

I’m sure the ‘artist’ had not intended these pieces to cause offence, but how can the Trust think that they are anything but jarring and totally incongruous in the otherwise beautiful abbey grounds and water gardens? I was so embarrassed, as my friend who had not visited before was also obviously quite shocked.

These exhibits are yet another example of the ‘Emperor’s new clothes’.

The National Trust’s only remit is to preserve and protect areas of natural beauty and historic buildings to which it has been entrusted – it is not the remit of the Trust to showcase these sorts of monstrous modern art exhibitions in its buildings and grounds that it should know will cause offence to many people.

How can you think this is something that people will like in any context?

This is yet another example of the National Trust losing its way, especially in a world-renowned UNESCO site. If the Trust continues in this misguided way, you will be losing my and many others’ support.

From: W Beechey , Kellington, Goole.

THE viewpoint of the Countryside Alliance in relation to the result of the vote taken at the recent National Trust AGM was totally predictable.

Members voted by 76,816 against 38,184 (a majority of 37,632) to ban all trail hunting on National Trust land. The Alliance claims that this vote represents a “tiny proportion” of national membership and therefore gives no mandate for prohibition.

The last time a similar vote took place at the Trust’s AGM was in 2017. The Countryside Alliance won this vote by 30,985 votes to 30,686 with a majority of only 249 votes. This result was won on discretionary votes where a proxy had given the National Trust authority to vote in the way it thought fit.

I understand now that the National Trust trustees are going to “reflect” on the result of the recent ballot and will inform members of their decision.

It is within their power to overturn the 2021 result but, should that occur, I am sure it would invoke the wrath of the majority of their membership causing the Trust to lose millions of members.

The trustees have no alternative but to respect this year’s ballot and ban trail hunting.

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