FOI/2015/39

The Request

Received on 8 June 2015

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing to obtain information regarding any art owned by your organisation.

1. What is the total number of works of art owned by your organisation?

2. What is the total insurance value of these works of art?

3. How many of the works of art that you own are on public display?

4. For the five most valuable items, where the data is readily available:
 
a) If purchased by the organisation, what was its purchase price, year of purchase and reason for purchase
b) What is its current value?

Please make it clear if you are responding on behalf of more than one organisation.

My preferred format to receive this information is electronically, but if that is not possible I will gladly accept letters at the address below.

I would be grateful if you would acknowledge receipt of this request as soon as possible.

Kind regards

 

Our Response

Responded on 3 July 2015

Case Reference: FOI/2015/39

3 July 2015

Dear

Thank you for your request for information dated 8 June 2015 concerning Art owned by British Council. Your request has been handled under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000 and has been passed to me for reply.

I can confirm, under section 1 (1) (a) of the FOIA, that the British Council does hold the information you have requested.

For your ease of reference, I have restated your questions below in bold and have provided our response beneath each question.

1. What is the total number of works of art owned by your organisation?

8658

2. What is the total insurance value of these works of art?

£129,386,662

3. How many of the works of art that you own are on public display?

2549

4. For the five most valuable items, where the data is readily available:

a) If purchased by the organisation, what was its purchase price, year of purchase and reason for purchase?
b) What is its current value?

1. Lucian Freud, Girl with Roses 1947/8
Oil on canvas

Purchase Price:                     £157.50
Year of purchase:                 1948
Reason for purchase:            Exhibition use
Current Value:                      Information withheld – see below

http://visualarts.britishcouncil.org/collection/artists/lucian-freud-1922/object/girl-with-roses-freud-194748-p79

2. Lucian Freud, Naked girl with egg 1980/81
Oil on canvas

Purchase Price:                     £21,000
Year of purchase:                 1982
Reason for purchase:            Exhibition use
Current Value:                      Information withheld – see below 

http://visualarts.britishcouncil.org/collection/artists/lucian-freud-1922/object/naked-girl-with-egg-freud-198081-p4184

3. Peter Doig, Hill Houses 1990/91
Oil on canvas

Purchase Price:                     £2,700
Year of purchase:                 1991
Reason for purchase:            Exhibition use
Current Value:                      Information withheld – see below

http://visualarts.britishcouncil.org/collection/artists/doig-peter-1959/object/hill-houses-doig-1990-91-p5866/objects/all/initial/d/page/1

4. David Hockney, Man in a Museum (or you’re in the wrong movie) 1962
Oil on canvas

Purchase Price:                     £5,000
Year of purchase:                 1971
Reason for purchase:            Exhibition use
Current Value:                      Information withheld – see below

http://visualarts.britishcouncil.org/collection/artists/david-hockney-1937/object/man-in-a-museum-or-youre-in-the-wrong-movie-hockney-1962-p1494/objects/all/initial/h/page/1

Henry Moore, Mother and Child 1936
Ancaster Stone

Purchase Price:                     £300
Year of purchase:                 1948
Reason for purchase:            Exhibition use
Current Value:                      Information withheld – see below

http://visualarts.britishcouncil.org/search/object/mother-and-child-moore-1936-p48/keywords:p48

We are withholding the current value of our five most valuable items since the exemptions under section 31 (Law enforcement) of the Freedom of Information Act applies.

The exemption under section 31(1)(a) allows a public authority to withhold information where it would, or would be likely to, prejudice the prevention or detection of crime.

If we were to release information on the value of our most valuable artworks it would increase the risk of theft or vandalism to those items.

The exemption for Law enforcement is subject to the public interest test as stipulated by the Act, which means that the exemption can only be upheld if the public interest in doing so outweighs the public interest in disclosure.

Whilst we acknowledge that there is public interest in the value of artworks held in public collections and disclosure would facilitate accountability in the spending of public money in this case we feel that there is a clear public interest in protecting these publically owned artworks from the impact of crime.

On balance we believe that the public interest in withholding the information outweighs the public interest in disclosure.

I hope the information provided has been useful.

If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request, you have the right to ask for an internal review. Internal review requests should be submitted within two months of the date of receipt of the response to your original letter and should be addressed to:

Freedom of Information Officer
Information Security and Governance
British Council
Bridgewater House
58 Whitworth Street
Manchester
M1 6BB
Email: foi@britishcouncil.org

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have a right to appeal to the Information Commissioner for a decision at:

The Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Phone: 0303 123 1113
Website: www.ico.gov.uk

Yours sincerely

Information Policy Advisor: FOI | Global Information Services

http://www.britishcouncil.org/organisation/how-we-work/freedom-of-information