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Protecting art and culture in Cheshire – the Acceptance in Lieu Scheme

22nd January, 2020

The Acceptance in Lieu Scheme aims to allow tax efficient gifts of works of art to the nation.

The Scheme is designed to prevent the nation’s heritage being sold and possibly exported to settle tax bills.  The objects acquired under the Scheme must be ‘pre-eminent’.  Objects must have a close association with our history and national life, or be of a special artistic or art-historic interest.

The Arts Council has now published its annual report for the year to 31 March 2019.  Of course, the criteria of ‘pre-eminence’ would generally exclude Great Aunt Vi’s tea set (unless she or it were of national significance).  In all, 46 cases were dealt with and the value of the objects concerned was just shy of £60million. Cheshire and North Wales figure prominently in the list.

First up is Tabley House.  The 18th Century oil painting of Tabley House by Richard Wilson is a masterpiece of his work. Fittingly, the Arts Council Panel has allocated the painting to the Whitworth Gallery so it will be retained at Tabley House to be enjoyed by the public.

On Anglesey, three portraits connected with the Paget family have now been transferred to the National Trust for retention and display at Plas Newydd as a condition of the offer under the Scheme.  In addition, the Paget family archive has been allocated to the Staffordshire Record Office.  Included within this are grants of lands and the details of the establishment of Burton Abbey prior to the Norman Conquest.  These lengthy documents, are rare survivals on vellum of records made and executed more than 1000 years ago.

Rather more recent, but also in North Wales, are a number of paintings of Penrhyn Castle by Oliver Harris.  These large canvasses were undertaken in the 1890’s, along with some portraits of the Pennant family who built the mock Norman Castle in the early 19th Century.  All the paintings remain at Penrhyn which is open to the public.

The advantage of the Acceptance in Lieu Scheme is that the attributed value can be agreed by the owner before deciding to proceed with the Scheme.  It is a great way of ensuring that items of considerable historical value do not disappear from public view, and continue to enrich the lives of all of us.

Clive Pointon

Head of Team & Partner

Wills, Trusts and Tax
Email: [email protected]
Tel: 01244 405 513

Photo: Yvonne Metcalf

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