A previously hidden trove of British artwork, one of the largest corporate collections in Britain, will soon be shared with the public. The Royal Bank of Scotland has been criticized for keeping its 2,200 piece art stash out of public view - until now. The bank has reexamined their position, considering the artwork is now 70% taxpayer-owned after a treasury bailout saved RBS from collapse. RBS has yet to disclose a comprehensive list of the artwork or reveal its value, however the collection is said to include paintings and prints by artists like LS Lowry, David Hockney, Patrick Caulfield, Sir William McTaggart, Johann Zoffany and Joshua Reynolds.
EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND /The Guardian/ -- RBS has told the Guardian it broadly agrees with its critics that it now has a public duty to share its collection and is in discussions with museums and arts experts, including the National Galleries of Scotland, which runs five galleries in Edinburgh, about possible loans and exhibitions.
Colin Tweedy, the chairman of Arts & Business, an influential charity which promotes culture and the arts in business, said the bank's silence about the collection and its failure to show it publicly had been frustrating and worrying. "I can understand their embarrassment, but the difficulty is that the collection seemed to have disappeared," he said. "I was worried it had been thrown away and damaged. My view is that this is something they should be proud of, instead of being embarrassed." He added: "It is not only a public duty but also a business opportunity, because people will see some wonderful British work and realize it is owned by RBS."
The department of culture urged RBS to put its works on show: "We want the British public to have access to great works of art, whether they are in public or privately owned collections. We would encourage any business which owns a corporate art collection to enable it to be seen by the public where practicable."
[Read More - Royal Bank of Scotland Agrees to Put Hidden Art Collection On Public Display | The Guardian]