Today, Friday 10 December 2021, the Arts Council publishes the Cultural Gifts Scheme and Acceptance in Lieu Annual Report 2020/21. Despite challenges the museum sector has faced during the pandemic, the Arts Council can reveal that over the past year objects – paintings, archives, and items of cultural importance – worth £54 million were accepted for the nation and allocated to museums across the UK.

Of the cultural objects allocated in this report, included in London is a painting by British Pop artist Sir Peter Blake, fifty-five sketchbooks by Mary Fedden, and items from Professor Stephen Hawking’s office which will be held by the Science Museum. These acquisitions among others, will enrich London’s cultural offer.

This year marks the first joint allocations to be made under the schemes. A striking portrait by German artist Lovis Corinth (1858-1925) accepted in lieu in 2019/20 has been allocated to the National Gallery, London and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Birmingham. A large sculpture by British contemporary artist Phyllida Barlow accepted under the Cultural Gifts Scheme has been allocated to Leeds Art Gallery and The Hepworth Wakefield.

Cultural Gifts Scheme (CGS)

Now in its eighth year, the CGS enables U.K. taxpayers to donate important cultural objects to the nation; in return, donors receive a percentage reduction in tax based on the value of the donated item. Notable works accepted over the past year include:

• The sketchbooks of the artist Mary Fedden which have been permanently allocated to the Tate.

• A fine bronze inkstand by Peter Vischer the Younger which now resides at the Ashmolean Museum.

• Two intricate collages by the artist John Bingley Garland (1791-1875) known as The Blood Collages which found permanent residency at the Fitzwilliam Museum

Acceptance in Lieu (AIL)

AIL allows those who have an Inheritance Tax Bill to pay the tax by transferring important cultural, scientific or historic objects and archives to the nation. Highlights include:

• The late Professor Stephen Hawking’s archive and office are allocated to Cambridge University Library and the Science Museum respectively.

• A striking portrait by James Tissot, Quiet, of his lover and muse Kathleen Newton now housed, and on public display, at National Museums NI Ulster Museum.

• A watercolour, Girl with Butterflies, by Frances MacDonald MacNair, an important member of the Glasgow School which finds a permanent place at The Hunterian Museum and Gallery.

• The archive of award-winning illustrator and children’s book author Pat Hutchins which now resides at Seven Stories.

• An exceptional collection of British Pop and figurative art formed by celebrated architects MJ Long and Colin ‘Sandy’ St John Wilson was allocated to Pallant House Gallery, and recently won Apollo Magazine’s Acquisition of the Year 2021.

• A group portrait of Catherine de’ Medici with her children by the workshop of François Clouet which was allocated to Strawberry Hill Collection Trust