Bodelwyddan Castle forced to cut ties with gallery following funding withdrawal

Published date: 09 March 2017 |
Published by: Suzanne Jordan 
Read more articles by Suzanne Jordan  Email reporter

Bodelwyddan Castle 

A HISTORIC house and museum have been forced to cut ties with the National Portrait Gallery after its funding was pulled.

Denbighshire County Council will stop supporting Bodelwyddan Castle Trust from March 2018. As a result, the Trust said it will have to end its 29 year partnership with the gallery which has allowed the historic build to display nationally “significant” works in North Wales.

Art collections - including works from the National Portrait Gallery, Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) and the Royal Academy of Arts – will be returned to relevant organisations.

The decision has been taken due to the costs associated with presenting works.

Dr Ken Davies, chair of the Trust, said: “This is a tremendous blow for the Trust and for our partners at the Gallery, but perhaps more importantly, it sees the end of an arrangement that really benefited local residents, whether through the partnership’s general education work or the economic benefits that it brought to the area.

“The council’s input was relatively small when compared with those benefits and it is difficult to comprehend why such a dramatic cut in funding has been agreed.”

Dr Nicholas Cullinan, director of the National Portrait Gallery, added: “The gallery is committed to making our national collection of British portraits available around the country through an active programme of partnerships and loans and has lobbied both Denbighshire County Council and The Welsh Government to reconsider the decision to reduce funding. However, care of the Collection is paramount and we are, therefore, preparing for the removal of the works currently at Bodelwyddan and actively investigating new options for their display elsewhere in the UK.”

A spokesperson for Denbighshire County Council confirmed that funding was being withdrawn.

“The difficult financial environment within the public sector over recent years has meant that the council has had to review all expenditure,” she said.

“We have decided that we cannot continue to justify this subsidy to Bodelwyddan Castle Trust. We have been discussing this situation with the Trust for some time, and subsequently made the decision to delay the removal of the subsidy until April 2018 to allow additional time for the Trust to plan its future financial arrangements.”

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