Masterpieces are uninsured

OFFICIALS at Endeavour House today defended their decision not to insure many of the artistic masterpieces on display at Christchurch Mansion in the town.

OFFICIALS at Endeavour House today defended their decision not to insure many of the artistic masterpieces on display at Christchurch Mansion in the town.

As revealed on The Evening Star website yesterday, it has emerged that many of the finest works in the council's collection are uninsured because the borough cannot afford the high cost of premiums.

Culture and leisure spokeswoman Judy Terry said the decision was taken to spend more money on security measures in the first place rather than on insurance - which would not be able to replace any works which were completely destroyed.

She said it was standard practice for many galleries not to insure their exhibits - although the buildings themselves were fully insured.

Mrs Terry said: “The cost of insurance is very high, and we feel it is better to spend that money on security to protect the exhibits in the first place.

“That is the same practice followed by many other galleries like the Tate in London.”

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The council estimated that it would cost about £40,000 a year to insure the 15,000 items in its collection.

Mrs Terry said the Conservative/Liberal Democrat administration had decided it was important to show its works of art - many of which had been in storage for years.

“When we formed an administration, we decided that we should show off the council's collection.

“There are risks with that, but we feel it is best to spend money on enhanced security and put them on display for everyone to see,” she said.

The uninsured pictures on display include works by Gainsborough, Constable, Munnings, and George Frost.

The cost of insuring works of art has prompted many local authorities to lock their works of art away and has forced others to stop insuring their works of art.

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