Save Hertfordshire's Public Art Collection

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Hertfordshire County Council wants to ‘dispose’ of 91% of its public Art Collection.  Out of a total of 1,826 artworks, only 167 are to be retained.  The rest are to be sold or otherwise dispersed.  

If these plans go ahead, a significant body of art, most of it bought with public funds and including many works by celebrated modern British artists, will disappear into private hands and be lost to the public forever.    


  • What is the Collection?

The majority of it began in 1949 as the Hertfordshire Schools Art Loan Collection, giving all children in schools across the county the chance to see, use and be inspired by original works of art. 

Today this comprises 1,496 works by local and national artists, and includes paintings, prints, drawings, sculpture, ceramics and textiles.  

It includes work by Barbara Hepworth, John Nash, George Chapman, Sylvia Gosse, Anne Redpath, Keith Vaughan, Edward Wadsworth, Carel Weight, Josef Herman, Joan Eardley, Malvina Cheek, John Tunnard, Alan Davie, Chris Orr, Peter Blake, and many other highly regarded artists.

It is a significant part of Hertfordshire's heritage.  As one of very few remaining local authority school art loan collections, it could also be of wider importance.


  • What’s going on?

This Collection was suspended in 2012, and the findings of an independent review of 2016 have not been publicised.

According to its most recent Report, other options to use and fund the Collection, such as collaboration with the County’s museums and galleries, have not been explored.

The Council estimates the sale of art will raise a maximum of £300,000 net.  This one-off amount equates to just 0.03% of its £817 million annual budget.

The Council is currently consulting on the initial 428 artworks proposed for sale.

There is no public consultation on its overall plans for the Collection.


  •  What can you do?

We need your help to show Hertfordshire County Council that the public Art Collection it holds is a valuable cultural resource - we want it to remain in public-ownership for the benefit of us all. 

We want the Council to:

  • Make public the independent review of the Art Collection that it commissioned in 2016
  • Revoke the authority given to the Director of Resources to sell artworks
  • Seek alternative funding and management options for the Collection
  • Ensure the artworks are retained in Hertfordshire
  • Place the Collection in Trust for the benefit of current and future generations

We have only until the end of March to make an impact.

Please sign and share this petition NOW.



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