Briefing for the Public Petitions Committee
Petition Number: PE1117 Main Petitioner: Ms Rosalind Newlands on behalf of members of the Scottish Tourist Guides Association Subject: Calls on the Parliament and the Scottish Government to permanently secure for the people of Scotland the sculpture by Ronald Rae, known as the Lion of Scotland, which is temporarily exhibited in Holyrood Park until March 2008. Background Historic Scotland has provided the following statement regarding the Lion of Scotland statue:
“Holyrood Park is protected as a monument of national importance, known as Holyrood Abbey, Palace Gardens and Park, under the terms of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. The Park is also included in the Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes of Scotland. Under the 1979 Act, any works affecting the monument will require the prior written permission of Scottish Ministers. Historic Scotland was approached in January 2005 with a request to house a temporary exhibition of sculptures by the Scottish artist Ronald Rae in Holyrood Park. Following internal discussions we agreed to this request on the basis that the exhibition would be temporary and full responsibility for the sculptures and all costs associated with the installation, period of exhibition within the Park and removal of the exhibition would be met by Ronald Rae. A contract was drawn up between Ronald Rae and Historic Scotland with an agreement for the duration of the event to be one year with the option of extension should both parties be mutually agreeable. Consent for the installation of the twenty-one granite sculptures, including the lion sculpture, as a temporary exhibition in Holyrood Park was given on 19 December 2005. The exhibition started in June 2006 and it was our understanding that it was due to run for 12 months. Retaining the lion sculpture as a permanent installation would require a further consent. At the end of the agreed exhibition period an extension of six months was granted to allow the organisers time to finalise new locations to house the exhibits. A further extension has subsequently been given until the first week in March whilst preparations are in place to move the exhibition directly to the Falkirk Wheel. Public support for the lion has prompted Ronald Rae long term loan to the Scottish Parliament at no cost. that a decision will be made on the future of the lion Art Committee next meets in early March. In to offer the sculpture on We have been advised when the Parliamentary order to facilitate that
discussion, we have offered the owner an additional months extension to the contractual arrangements for lion sculpture”. If the Scottish Parliament is content to take up the offer from Mr Rae to take the sculpture on a long term loan, Historic Scotland have offered to assist and advise on them on the matter. (Source: Personal Correspondence with Historic Scotland, 19 February 2008).
The future location of the Statue has received media attention notably in the Edinburgh Evening News and links to some articles on this issue are attached with this response. Scottish Parliament Action Christine Graham, MSP has lodged a motion on this issue as follows:
S3M-1261 Christine Grahame: Ronald Rae’s Lion of Scotland—That the Parliament notes the popular success of the exhibition of Ronald Rae’s sculptures in Holyrood Park; notes that most of the exhibits will be removed in March to locations such as Iona and the Falkirk Wheel; further notes that Ronald Rae is prepared to leave the Lion of Scotland in the vicinity of the Parliament with no funding cost to the Parliament, including liability cover; further notes that the Arts Advisory Committee of this Parliament will meet in February to consider inter alia what exhibits to accept, and therefore urges MSPs to support the location of the lion outside the Parliament where it has already made its natural home. Supported by: Alasdair Allan, John Lamont, Alex Neil, Bill Kidd, Hugh O’Donnell, Bill Wilson, Rob Gibson, Hugh Henry, Stuart McMillan, Margaret Smith, Malcolm Chisholm, Gil Paterson, Christina McKelvie, Sarah Boyack, Dave Thompson, Mary Scanlon, Angela Constance, Iain Gray, Trish Godman, Kenneth Gibson
The SPCB is the responsible, decision-making body in relation to the Scottish Parliament Art Collection policy. However, the Parliament has an Art Advisory Group whose role is to support the activities of the Parliament’s Art Curator and advise the SPCB with regard to the art collection policy. The membership of the Advisory Group consists of five MSPs and three external members. At present the members of the group are: Robin Harper (Chair), Patricia Ferguson, Jeremy Purvis, Ian McKee, Ted Brocklebank, Richard Calvocoressi (Director, Henry Moore Foundation), Liz Lochhead (writer and playwright) and Alison Watt (artist). Policy with regard to the Scottish Parliament’s Art Collection is detailed in the ‘Scottish Parliament Art Collection: Acquisition and Disposal Policy’. A copy of the policy is attached with this response. Paragraph 3.3 of the Art Collection: Acquisition and Disposal Policy states with regard to accepting items on loan:
“The acceptance of items, on loan, normally for a finite period for display or specific study, may be authorised by the Art Curator, acting on the SPCB’s behalf. In exceptional cases, a privately owned item of major importance that falls within the scope of this policy may be accepted on a finite long loan, whether or not it is required for immediate display or study. No item will be received on ‘permanent loan’, a term which has no legal status. The period of
all loans will normally be agreed in writing between the Art Curator and the owner of the item at the time of deposit. Where the term of a loan has expired, it may be renewed or extended for further finite periods, at the discretion of both the owner and the Art Curator”.
As noted in the Historic Scotland response the SPCB are due to consider this issue in early March and will be advised on the issue by the Art Advisory Group.
Stephen Herbert Senior Research Specialist 20 February 2008
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