Letter: Could Kirklees Council art solve cash crisis?

With Kirklees Council currently selling off land and buildings worth £25 million, it’s timely to ask why it is sitting on an art collection worth as much, or more ?

In Kirklees’ 2011/12 accounts, which are viewable online, the balance sheet on page 14 shows assets of £2.3bn and liabilities of £1.2bn – net assets of more than £1bn.

Within this total are heritage assets of £35m (details in Note 14 on pages 48/49) including the fine art collection of 3,000 paintings and prints, including 700 oil paintings – more than in the Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield – of which 85 per cent are in storage .

The most valuable single oil painting Francis Bacon’s Figure Study II is valued at nearly £20m!

This rather ugly picture of a woman, if sold, could buy a lot of much-needed social facilities, debt free.

So why is Kirklees’ Labour-led council hoarding paintings like Saatchi and Saatchi art dealers?

Is there anyone in Dewsbury and Batley who has ever seen their £20m oil painting ?

Surely Kirklees Council under Labour Party control should be focusing on

care homes and sheltered housing for older people, and children’s centres – not oil paintings in storage in Huddersfield.

Is it time for a special series, not just one edition, of the BBC’s Flog It focusing on the Kirklees Art Collection and the additional 750,000 items in the Kirklees Museums Collection of which 95 per cent are in storage?!

Kenn Winter


Formerly of Thornhill