Gallery takes seriously its responsibility to share collection

From: Sandy Nairne, Director, National Portrait Gallery, St Martins Place, London.

I AM writing in response to Bill Carmichael’s article ‘High price of our culture’ (Yorkshire Post, July 26).

The National Portrait Gallery takes very seriously its responsibility, as the custodian of a national collection, to share the collection as much as possible throughout the UK. The gallery’s trustees recognise in particular the importance of making the collections accessible regionally amidst the current funding pressures on regional museums and the increased financial pressures on many members of the public, who may feel unable to travel to London as regularly as they might wish.

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We share the collection in a number of ways: through our special country house partnerships with Montacute House in Somerset and Beningbrough Hall in Yorkshire (both National Trust properties), which show portraits from the gallery’s Tudor and 18th century collections respectively, and with Bodelwyddan Castle in Denbighshire, which shows portraits from the 19th century collection; through strategic partnerships with regional museums including Bristol Museums, Galleries and Archives, Tyne and Wear Museums and Archives, Birmingham Museums, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery and Watts Gallery; through touring exhibitions and displays (such as last year’s The Queen: Art and Image exhibition, which was shown in Edinburgh, Belfast and Cardiff before coming to London), and through funded project work, which over the last year has included the tour of William Hoare’s portrait of Ayuba Suleiman Diallo to venues in Liverpool, South Shields and Leicester.

We also have an extensive programme of loans to other museums and galleries (last year, the gallery facilitated 735 outgoing loans, 140 of which were to venues in Yorkshire).

In addition, our annual BP Portrait Award and Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize exhibitions always tour to at least one regional venue following their display at the gallery.

From: N Bywater, Airedale Terrace, Morley, Leeds.

ALTHOUGH I am a grumpy old man, I was required to attend Leeds Party in the Park with my daughter. Despite the rain showers, it appeared that many thousands had a great time.

Back in 2010 the Party in the Park tickets were all free. The net cost of Party in the Park in 2010 was £265,000. Now that there is a small charge for tickets, the council should be making a small profit.

So there is no reason to complain; except for just one gripe from a grumpy old man. Why can’t they have large litter bins, so that people have somewhere to put their litter?

Litter was everywhere, despite numerous litter pickers. I only saw one litter bin, and that was over-flowing before the acts got on stage. To be fair to the organisers of the event, Leeds City Council seem to have the same problem all around Leeds. Litter bins that people struggle to put just one pizza box in, if they do manage to get it in, the bin is then almost full.