Arts Council England and HMRC administer the Acceptance in Lieu scheme (AIL) and the Cultural Gifts scheme (CGS).  AIL enables those with a liability for inheritance tax or estate duty to pay that liability with heritage property which may consist of works of art, other objects or land and buildings.  The AIL panel of the Arts Council will apply criteria to establish whether the property offered is pre-eminent according to those criteria.  CGS is for living donors to offer such property.  Acceptance under either scheme affords significant tax advantage in comparison to an open market sale.

Each year the panel publishes on line a report of its activities identifying the property accepted and its value.  The images shown here are taken from the 2017 report.  To see more details of the operation of the scheme, of this report and others: enter  “Acceptance in lieu annual reports” in your browser.




CHINCHILLA by Peter Carl Fabergé: one of nine animals accepted under CGS from Nicholas Snowman the son of Kenneth Snowman the leading British expert on Fabergé.   Permanently allocated to the Victoria and Albert Museum.


ORCHIDS by Dame Elizabeth Blackadder: accepted under CGS from Dr Sheila Ross who qualified as a doctor at Glasgow University fifty years ago. Allocated at her request to that university for the Hunterian Museum.


ETRETAT by Claude Monet (pastel): AIL from the estate of Miss Valerie Middleton whose father Royan Middleton of Aberdeen was an early British collector of Monet’s works.   Permanently allocated to the Scottish National Gallery.


WINE GLASSES painted in oils by John Singer Sargent in 1874 at age nineteen years:  AIL from the estate of Sir Philip Sassoon connoisseur and patron of the arts and Sargent’s friend.  Temporarily allocated to the National Gallery.


CASTLE HOWARD ANTIQUITIES (statuary): AIL and allocated to the National Museums Liverpool but remaining at Castle Howard in recognition of the added value of seeing the statues in situ.


EPIDAUROS 11 by Dame Barbara Hepworth: AIL from the estate of Barbara Hepworth and permanently allocated to the Tate at St Ives in situ on the Malakoff terrace.


1932 (profile: Venetian red) oil and pencil work by Ben Nicholson: AIL from the estate of Elisabeth Swan the daughter of Jim Ede, collector and creator of Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge.   Incorporates Barbara Hepworth’s profile.  Permanently allocated to the Scottish National Gallery.


THE OLD CINEMA by L.S.Lowry:   AIL from the estate of Miss Valerie Middleton. Temporarily allocated to the Aberdeen Art Gallery.

NG, Meeting No21, 24 July 2018

Belles de Jour


“Belles de Jour”

An exhibition at the Musée Sainte-Croix, Poitiers, visited on 9 September, 2016

The exhibition featured works by female artists and those with a female model, from the collections in the Musée des Beaux Arts in Nantes.

There were about seventy works displayed, of which this is a selection.

The artists are in alphabetical order.


Jacques-Émile Blanche, La comtesse Bibesco Bassaraba de Brancovan, 1912, oil on canvas, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Nantes

Blanche was a pupil of Henri Gervex, and supported by Henri Fantin-Latour and Édouard Manet.
The Comtesse de Brancovan was a poet and socialite, known for her often cruel humour. Here, she is wearing mourning dress following the death of her mother in law.


Jacques Emile Blanche, Aubrey Vincent Beardsley, 1895, oil on canvas, 93 x 74 cm, National Portrait Gallery, London, UK

This was not in the exhibition, but appeared in the earlier talk on Aubrey Beardsley.


Henri Boutet, Femme se promenant sur un pont, 1883, etching, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Nantes

Known as “le maître du corset”, Boutet published, in 1902, “Les Modes Féminines du XIXe Siècle”, a collection of one hundred etchings etchings showing the development of women’s fashion throughout the nineteenth century


Romaine Brooks, Gabriele d’Annunzio, le poéte en exil, 1912, oil on canvas, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Nantes

It was d’Annunzio who gave Romaine Brooks the nickname Cinerina, with reference to her ash coloured palette.


Romaine Brooks, Vénus triste, 1916-1917, oil on canvas, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Nantes

Purporting to follow the tradition of the reclining Venus, the painting reflects the fascination of Brooks for her model and lover, the dancer Ida Rubenstein


Romaine Brooks, Azalées Blanches, 1910, oil on canvas, 151 x 272 cm, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC, USA

This painting was not in the exhibition. The subject is the same as Vénus triste, but the model is anonymous.


Jules Chéret, La femme à l’ombrelle rouge, oil on wood, Musée des Beaux Arts, Nantes

Chéret was the inventor of the modern colour poster, having founded his printing works in 1866.
He was a friend of Rodin and Monet.


Jules Chéret, La diaphane. Poudre de riz. Sarah Bernhard, 1898, Poster

Not in the exhibition, but included as a representation of his work.


Kees van Dongen, Passe-temps honnète, c1920, oil on canvas, Musée des Beaux Arts, Nantes

van Dongen painted much of his early work in the red light district of Rotterdam.
He exhibited with the Fauves in 1905, and collaborated with the expressionist group Die Brücke.


Henri-Pierre Hippolyte Dubois, Portrait de la marquise de Girard de Châteauvieux, 1877, oil on canvas, 178 x 239 cm, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Nantes, France


Valentine Gross-Hugo, Karsavina dans le “Spectre de la rose », 1912, wax on wood, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Nantes


Valentine Gross-Hugo, Karsavina et Nijinsky dans le “Spectre de la rose”, 1912, wax on wood, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Nantes

Gross was passionate about the ballet, and painted in wax to show the fluid movements of the dancers, after sketches made at the time.


Charles Guérin, La dame aux bracelets, 1922, oil on canvas, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Nantes


Hermann Göhler, Portrait de femme, 1902, oil on cardboard, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Nantes


Wilhelm Hagborg, Portrait de femme å la robe noire (portrait de Mme Gerda Hagborg ?), c1890, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Rouen

Hagborg was a Swedish naturalist painter in the style of Breton, Bastien-Lepage and Friant. He was also known as a portrait painter, and the model here is probably his wife.


Tamara de Lempicka, Kizette en rose, 1927, oil on canvas, Musée des Beaux Arts, Nantes

Lempicka was a pupil of André Lhote (see below), and often used her reluctant and much neglected daughter as a model.


Tamara de Lempicka, Kizette on the Balcony, 1927, oil on canvas

Not in the exhibition.


André Lhote, Femme assise, c 1925, oil on canvas, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Nantes

Although he appreciated the work of the cubists, Lhote always maintained a link with the classical style of portraiture


Sarah Lipska, Antoine et ses réves, c1934, oil on canvas, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Nantes

Antoine was a noted hairdresser of his day. Lipska also designed his apartment, including a glass coffin which he used as his bed.


Sarah Lipska, Buste de Colette, 1954, pink cement, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Nantes


Maurice Marinot, Nu à l’atelier, 1905, oil on canvas, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Nantes

Marinot was associated with the Fauves, and is better known for his work in glass.


Jean Metzinger, Nu à la fenétre, s.d, oil on canvas, Musée des Beaux Arts, Nantes

Metzinger became a painter after meeting Robert Delauny in Paris in 1903. His early involvement with cubism made him an influential artist and leading theorist of the movement.


Suzanne Valadon, Les Baigneuses, 1923, oil on canvas, Musée des Beaux Arts, Nantes

Valadon began her career as a model, posing for Puvis de Chavannes, Renoir and Toulouse-Lautrec, before becoming an established painter. She was the mother of Maurice Utrillo.


Félix Vallatton, Femme lisant, 1921, oil on canvas, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Nantes

BT, Meeting No21, 24 July 2018

Laura Knight, Staithes


Laura’s Studio at Staithes, 1898

Laura and Harold needed a place that would offer the inspiration they had failed to find in Skegness. The answer came from Thomas Barratt, a teacher at the Nottingham Schoool of Art, who said: ‘Go to Staithes … there is no place so splendid for an artist in the whole of England. I have a cottage there I go to every summer. Harold and you will want to spend all your time painting’. And so in the late summer of 1897, the year of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, to Staithes they all went.

When the railway came to Staithes in 1883 some three hundred fishermen were working out of the port, with the Whitby, Redcar and Middlesbrough Union Railway running three trains a week from the station at the bank top to transport the catch to markets nationwide. Yet the community below maintained its self-contained isolation. They considered even those who lived and worked “up top” as foreigners. Even so, for all its apartness, Staithes could not ignore the trickle of outsiders who came to the village: painters attracted by its picturesque character, its dramatic weather, strong light and long days. Seeking out remote, rural and coastal places, they were part of the new movement that was transforming the art-world at home and abroad. They brought with them modernity and a whiff of revolution to this remote place.

Left: Mark Senior, Runswick Bay, c1883, oil on canvas, 51 x 36 cm, Private Collection
Top right: Frederick Jackson, In the Garden, 1886, oil on canvas
Bottom right: Gilbert Foster, Wild Flowers in Yorkshire, before 1906, oil on canvas

By 1880 three influential artists were working in the Staithes-Whitby area: Gilbert Foster, Frederick Jackson and Mark Senior.
They established what was to be a loosely associated colony of painters resident there for over 30 years and known as the “Staithes Group”. Harold and Laura were associated with Staithes for over ten years (from their first visit in 1897 to their removal to Newlyn in 1907) and it was at Staithes that both of them threw off the restraints of academic art and provincial attitudes. As Laura affirmed, Staithes was for her a ‘tremendous influence on work, life and power of endurance’.
She found herself as an artist at Staithes.


Laura and Harold married in 1903; he was 29, she 26. They had been companions since she entered Nottingham School of Art when Laura was 13. Harold died in 1961 at the age of 87, after 58 years of marriage.
In this photograph Harold, a self-effacing man, is standing at the back.

He became a well known artist, specialising in portraits


Harold Knight, Arthur Balfour, 1st Baron Riverdale, 1936, oil on canvas, 76 x 63 cm, National Portrait Gallery, London, UK

He painted Laura, on several occassions. Here, along with her portrait of her sister, is the first, painted shortly before her fifteenth birthday


Harold Knight, Laura Johnson, 1892, oil on canvas, Private Collection


Laura Knight, Sis, 1896, oil on canvas, 46 x 56 cm, Private Collection.


Laura Knight, Packing Fish on the Quay at Staithes, c1899, oil on canvas, 61 x 51 cm, Private Collection


Laura Knight, Cobles at Runswick, 1897-1907, oil on board, 39 x 29 cm, Brockfield Hall, nr York, UK



Laura Knight, A mother and child in a kitchen, 1905-1908, oil on canvas, 61 x 51 cm, Private Collection

This appears to have been painted between Laura and Harold Knight’s first trip to the Laren community in the Netherlands, in 1905, and their leaving Yorkshire to move to Cornwall in 1908. After their wedding in 1903, the Knights generally stayed with a Mrs Bowman when returning to the Staithes area in Yorkshire and in between visits to Laren. She lived in nearby Roxby, and the couple would walk over the fields every day down to Staithes, where they had their studios. Laura painted several oils similar in style to A mother and child in a kitchen, using Mrs Bowman’s cottage interior as a background. A similar work, Dressing the Children, below, was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1906, Both show some Dutch influence, gained from the Knight’s trips to Laren. Laura painted several works while in Staithes, subjects ranging from old women in interiors performing simple household tasks such as knitting, peeling potatoes and plucking geese, to children playing on the beach. Laura paid her models in pennies, which small sum she could hardly afford.


Laura Knight, Dressing the Children, 1906, oil on canvas, 102 x 140 cm, Ferens Art Gallery, Hull, UK


Laura Knight, The Girl & the Letter, 1906, oil on canvas, 102 x 127 cm, Harris Museums and Art Gallery, Preston, UK

Left: Laura Knight, The Elder Sister, c1907, oil on canvas, 33 x 25 cm, Touchstones, Rochdale, UK
Right: Laura Knight, The Rocking Chair, c1906-1907

The same scene and the same models, painted in different styles.

Left: Laura Knight, The Fishing Fleet, 1900, oil on canvas, 123 x 84 cm, Art Gallery, Bolton, UK
Right: Laura Knight, Fisherfolk Baiting Lines on the Cobbles, Staithes, date?, 45 x 54 cm, Private Collection


Laura Knight, On the Quayside, watercolour, Private Collection

Left: Harold Knight, The Storm, c1901, oil on canvas, 91 x 121 cm, Wycombe Museum, High Wycombe, UK
Right: Harold Knight, Grief, c1901, oil on canvas, Private Collection

The painting on the right is of a girl who was to marry Billy Uthank. He, his father and his brother were all drowned on the same day, a few days before the wedding.

The Knights had had enough of the raw pain of the place and, now that the winter set in, missed the companionship of other artists that they had enjoyed at Laren. Harold in particular was emotionally drained, tired of watching the never-ending tragedy of life on the Yorkshire coast. Yet Laura was reluctant to leave for she owed so much to the place. Staithes had offered her emotional and professional nourishment and throughout her life she would think back to her time in that ‘wildified place’ as marking a rite of passage. It was there, she says that ‘I … found my own way of seeing and trying to speak of it in pencil and colour, instead of copying other people, particularly Harold.’

The time had come to move on. So, they burned their unwanted canvases and looked south and west with the promise of warmer climes, longer days and brighter skies of Cornwall.


Laura Knight, Staithes, Yorkshire, 1900, oil on canvas

BT, Meeting No21, 24 July, 2018






Romaine Brooks, 1874-1970


Romaine Brooks, photograph c1994

Romaine Brooks, née Goddard, was an American painter who worked mostly in Paris and Capri. She specialised in portraiture and used a subdued tonal palette keyed to the colour grey.
She ignored contemporary artistic trends such as Cubism and Fauvism, drawing on her own original aesthetic inspired by the works of Walter Sickert, and James McNeill Whistler. Her subjects ranged from anonymous models to titled aristocrats. She is best known for her images of women in androgynous or masculine dress, including her self-portrait of 1923, which is her most widely reproduced work.
Brooks had an unhappy childhood after her alcoholic father abandoned the family; her mother was emotionally abusive and her brother mentally ill. By her own account, her childhood cast a shadow over her whole life. She spent several years in Italy and France as a poor art student, then inherited a fortune upon her mother’s death in 1902. Wealth gave her the freedom to choose her own subjects. She often painted people close to her, such as the Italian writer and politician Gabriele D’Annunzio, the Russian dancer Ida Rubinstein, and her partner of more than 50 years, the writer Natalie Barney.



Two early works

Romaine Brooks, La Jaquette rouge, 1910, oil on canvas, 239 x 149 cm, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC, USA

in which attention is drawn to the model’s nudity by the jacket, and

Romaine Brooks, Azalées Blanches, 1910, oil on canvas, 151 x 272 cm, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC, USA

Which has been compared to similar subjects by Manet and Goya

Edouard Manet, Olympia, 1863, oil on canvas, 131 cm × 190 cm, Musée d’Orsay, Paris France
Francisco Goya, La maja desnuda, c1797-1800, oil on canvas, 97 x 190cm,  Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain


Romaine Brooks, Self-Portrait, 1923, oil on canvas, 118 x 68 cm, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC, USA

The riding hat and coat and masculine tailoring suggest the conventions of aristocratic portraiture while also evoking a chic androgyny associated with the post World War I “new woman.” The choice of dress, which challenged conventional ideas of how women should look and behave, also enabled upper-class lesbians to identify and acknowledge one another.


Romaine Brooks, Ida Rubinstein, 1917, oil on canvas, 119 x 94 cm, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC, USA

Brooks met the Russian dancer and Ida Rubinstein in Paris after her first performance as the title character in Gabriele D’Annunzio’s play The Martyrdom of St. Sebastian, which combined religious history, androgyny, and erotic narrative. Rubinstein was already well known for her refined beauty and expressive gestures, and Brooks found her ideal in the tall, lithe, sensuous Rubinstein, who modelled for many sketches, paintings, and photographs that Romaine produced during their relationship, from 1911 to 1914.


Romaine Brooks, Peter (A Young English Girl), 1923-1924, oil on canvas, 92 x 62 cm, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC, USA


The British painter Hannah Gluckstein, 1895-1978, worked under the name Gluck but was known within her close circle of friends by her nickname, Peter. Gluck met Romaine Brooks in 1923, and the two agreed to sit for each other shortly thereafter, resulting in this portrait and an unfinished one of Brooks by Gluck. Like Brooks, Gluck frequently wore clothing inspired by men’s fashions that concealed her feminine figure. This androgynous attire was popular among upper class women at the time. It allowed them to experiment with fashion.


Romaine Brooks, Una, Lady Troubridge, 1924, oil on canvas, 127 x 76. cm,  Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC

Una Troubridge was a British aristocrat, literary translator. She is remembered for her numerous translations from French and Italian, and is credited with introducing the French novelist Colette to English readers. She also wrote a biography of her longtime partner, Marguerite “John” Radclyffe Hall, author of the 1928 classic The Well of Loneliness. In 1908, Una married Admiral Sir Ernest Thomas Troubridge, but the union ended in 1915, the same year she met Hall.

Hall introduced Troubridge to Romaine Brooks, who captured her in this 1924 portrait. She has the sense of formality and importance typical of upper-class portraiture, but with the sitter’s prized dachshunds in place of the traditional hunting dog. Troubridge’s impeccably tailored clothing, cravat, and bobbed hair convey the fashionable and daring androgyny associated with the so-called new woman.


Romaine Brooks, Madame Errázuris, 1908 and 1910, oil on canvas, 239 x 148 cm Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC

Eugenia Huici Arguedas de Errázuriz was an influential interior designer. Many of the hallmarks of Brooks’s later portraiture are evident in the combination of respect and humour tinged with satire. Madame Errázuriz appears nearly overwhelmed by her ostentatious outfit as she gazes confidently, and slightly arrogantly, at the viewer.

She was painted by other artists

Left to right

Jacques-Emile Blanche, Portrait of Eugenia Huici Arguedas de Errazuriz. 1890, oil on canvas,163 x  86 cm,  The Dixon Gallery & Gardens, Memphis, TN, USA
John Singer Sargent, Madame Errazuriz or The Lady in Black, c1883, oil on canvas, 82 x 60 cm, Private Collection
John Singer Sargent, Madame Errazuriz, c1880-82, oil on canvas, 54 x 48 cm, Private Collection


Romaine Brooks, La Baronne Emile d’Erlanger, c1924, oil on canvas, 106 x 87 cm,  Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC

Brooks probably met Marie Rose Antoinette Catherine Robert d’Aqueria de Rochegude, Baronne Emile d’Erlanger, in exclusive social circles in Paris and London, where the wealthy sitter was an arts patron who organised Brooks’s 1924 exhibition at London’s Alpine Club Gallery. Brooks pairs the baroness with an uncaged ocelot, whose spotted coat and direct gaze echo the sitter’s own. The animal lends an air of exoticism, sensuality, and humour to this forthright portrait.


William Bruce Ellis Ranken, Lady d’Erlanger, c1890-1910, oil on canvas, 127 x 101 cm, Museum, Portsmouth, UK


Romaine Brooks, La France Croisée, 1914, oil on canvas, 116 x 85 cm, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC, USA

In La France Croisée, Brooks voiced her opposition to World War I and raised money for the Red Cross and French relief organisations. Ida Rubinstein, above, was the model for this heroic figure posed in a nurse’s uniform, with cross emblazoned against her dark cloak, against a windswept landscape outside the burning city of Ypres. This symbolic portrait of a valiant France was exhibited in 1915 at the Bernheim Gallery in Paris, along with four accompanying sonnets written by Gabriele D’Annunzio. The gallery offered reproductions for sale as a benefit to the Red Cross. For her contributions to the war effort, the French government awarded Brooks the Cross of the Legion of Honor in 1920. This award is visible as the bright red spot on Brooks’s lapel in her 1923 Self-Portrait, above.




The Guennol Lioness


The Guennol Lioness is said to have been found near Baghdad, Iraq, in 1931.
The sculpture had been acquired by a private collector, Alastair Bradley Martin in 1948 from the collection of Joseph Brummer, and had been on display at Brooklyn Museum of Art in New York City from that time until 2007.
The limestone sculpture, carved in about 3000 BC, is just over 8 cm tall, and represents woman with the head of a lion
Its historical significance is that it is thought to have been created at approximately the same time as the first known use of the wheel, the development of cuneiform writing, and the emergence of the first cities.
Many ancient Near East deities were represented as anthropomorphic figures, illustrating the Mesopotamian belief that power over the physical world could be attained by combining the superior physical attributes of various species.

The owners decided to sell the sculpture, and it was sold for $57.2 million at Sotheby’s auction house on December 5, 2007. It was described by Sotheby’s as “one of the last known masterworks from the dawn of civilisation remaining in private hands.”Because the purchaser was anonymous, nobody is quite sure of the location. What we can know for sure, however, is that it is not available to the public, and that there is no indication that it will be again.

Can this be right?

BT, Meeting No 20, 10 July 2018

Laura Knight: Introduction

This is an introduction to the work of Laura Knight, 1877-1970
Later talks will be devoted to various aspects of her art and periods of her life.
These are set out below, each with a single example of her work.

Early life


Laura Knight, Sis, 1896, oil on canvas, 46 x 56 cm, Private Collection.



Laura Knight, Packing Fish on the Quay at Staithes, c1899, oil canvas, 61 x 52 cm, Private Collection



Photograph of Laura & Harold Knight, date unknown

Newlyn & Lamorna


Laura Knight, Boys Bathing, Newlyn Quay, 1910, oil on canvas, 70 x 93 cm, private Collection

The Circus


Laura Knight, Circus Matinee, 1938, Pannett Art Gallery, Whitby, UK

The Ballet


Laura Knight, Behind the Scenes in the Coulisses, 1920-25, oil on panel, 63 x 57 cm, Art Gallery, Falmouth, UK



Laura Knight, The Gypsy, c 1939, oil on canvas, 61x 41 cm, Tate gallery, London, UK



Laura Knight, Pearl Johnson, 1926-27, oil on canvas

World War II


Laura Knight, Ruby Loftus Screwing a Breech Ring, 1943, oil on canvas, 86 x 100 cm, Imperial War Museum, London, UK

Later Work


Laura Knight, The Cruel Sea, 1967, oil on canvas, 76 x 64 cm, Museum & Art Gallery, Bolton, UK


BT, Meeting No 20, 10 July 2018