Directors' blog

Links, thoughts and updates from the directors of Dim Sum Digital.

Getting access to art treasures kept for the nation in private homes

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Example of a local treasure by the artist Zoffany: Sir Lawrence Dundas and his Grandson Lawrence (circa 1775). Picture shared via creative commons on Wikipedia.

Tax relief for national heritage assets is a little known HMRC scheme, a system which means wealthy art collectors to gain tax relief in return for allowing the public access to their treasures.

So if you’ve ever wondered what paintings lie behind the gates of the imposing halls and grand houses across the North of England, our lords and ladies continue to enjoy their treasured possessions thanks to this provision and it also means you and I have the right to take a look inside and enjoy our shared cultural heritage.

It’s a topic I’ve written about in more depth for thee latest issue of The Northern Correspondent, the home of long-form journalism for the North East.

Now in its sixth issue, the magazine is available by subscription and at a limited number of outlets.

As editor Ian Wylie explains, the magazine is an important publication for the region in face of diminishing quality coverage of northern concerns.

It’s a region that deserves and need its stories to be told and heard in depth, but the opportunities to tell and hear these stories are fast diminishing. In the past decade, 20% of the UK’s local newspapers have closed. Cuts in the numbers of journalists and the production of local newspapers or regional programmes many miles from the communities they serve, added to our growing use of social media means that we’re more likely to know what’s going on in New York or New Zealand than in Newcastle.

The Northern Correspondent

You can read more about my look at the tax exempt artworks in the magazine or find out further information via a searchable map of the country’s available objects here.

The HMRC rules state:

  • You should normally be allowed access:
  • as soon as is reasonably practical
  • on the day you want, from a choice of at least 3 weekdays and 2 Saturdays or Sundays within 4 weeks of your request
  • at a time between 10am and 4pm


Written by sarahhartley

December 22nd, 2015 at 7:18 pm

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