Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

TDC must get its act together.

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.


MAC said...

Tony, unless there is an uncatalogued duplicate, I'm sure you will find that this Rowlandson was listed in the accessions register compiled under EKMT's governance, and also listed in the earlier TDC lists.

It should have a plethora of numbers from the various catalogue systems associated with it. I'll try to research it from the control catalogue.

MAC said...

Tony, further to my last post here is an extract from the EKMT catalogue of Margate Museum objects.

Accession No. 1430. Framed original ink and wash by T. Rowlandson, c. 1800 " The Citizen at Margate".

Guarantee of Authenticity on the back, 13" x 15"

Date of entry 18/03/98

Location Room 21 Rack 3.

P.13 Image on fil(digital image in catalogue)

Word Document 0003 - additional information.

1986 Picture list nos. 3375, 6471

Old List no. 2024.

Like I said, unless they've found another copy, this one is pretty well catalogued and in my time was audited at least twice.

Maybe what's lacking is the support of a professional with knowledge of the collection and the ability to interrogate the catalogues?

Always willing to help!

MAC said...


I wrote this foreword for the Public Catalogue Foundation about 10 years ago. It has resurfaced as the BBC have recently digitized the catalogues and made them freely available online.

Whilst the PCF/BBC only show works in oil and acrylic, (thus not the Rowlandson)I think my comments about the chequered history of the Margate collection and the work needed to improve its care are still valid.

Link to BBC Your Paintings site:

Tony Ovenden said...

Thanks Michael.

Tony Ovenden said...

Michael I note from your entry that there is four possible numbers for this item.You can see where the confusion has arisen.