Recently there was an article in the Isle of Thanet Gazette about a Rowlandson print "discovered" in the Margate Museum by volunteer auditors auditing the TDC art and artifact collection held at the Museum. The print is of some considerable value and the only provenance it has, is that it was bought in 1913 for 13 guineas. It has no collection number and there are no other details. Some people may regard this a stunning discovery but personally I think this discovery is appalling because all it does is highlight what poor custodians TDC have been of the art and artifact collection it owns.This item is a Council asset it has a value so where are the controls that monitor such items like audits and accurate recording for the asset register.
This is nothing new with Thanet District Council and this part of a long list of discrepancies that I have come across since 2003 and since then I have had a Freedom of Information request denied and even had a meeting with Cllrs Ezikiel and Latchford when the headed TDC to discuss the problem . I have been told many things in the past regarding the collection only to find out the opposite so the recent audit by the Cllr Hart administration is welcome as all my worst fears are being vindicated. Such as poor conservation of items, misidentified items,missing items and lack of basic controls.
I have now written to Cllr John Worrow chairman of the Governance and Audit committee to look at why this valuable council asset has not been audited up until recently.
Everything I do is based on researched fact so the chances of slipping up are remote and this is something I have come across that may be of interest. The old Borough of Margate once held a collection of 9251 prints and illustrations and 288 works of original art.Of that total 8542 prints and illustrations and 192 original works of art belong to what is known as the Parker collection. In Margate library they have the Parker collection listing - volume form. So what are the chances are for every single item in the Parker collection being accounted for.
I am really concerned about the Ramsgate items in the TDC collection especially the condition of some items and to use the word neglect would be an under statement. I am led to believe that once the entire collection is audited Ramsgate items will go back into storage. This is something I believe is totally unacceptable to the people of Ramsgate. It should have the same pride of place like Margate Museum gives to its art and heritage items they have on display. This is a matter I have brought up with Ramsgate Town Council that they should intervene or at the very least act as brokers to ensure a large part of the Ramsgate items in the TDC collection are eventually on display in Ramsgate in the future or at the very least looked after with more care.