When Croydon council announced its controversial wish to sell off part of its Riesco collection of ceramics it probably didn’t envisage such a wave of protest.
After the council voted
to approve the decision, campaigners had a three-month deadline
to file a judicial review - due as ATG went to press. Thanks to an
anonymous £10,000 donation, a community group planned to do exactly
A website has been set up to help cover legal
costs which could rise to £20,000.
Croydon chose Christie's as the auctioneers for its sale of 24
Chinese works of art from the collection. The works, which feature
Ming, Qing and earlier ceramics, were acquired by local businessman
and collector Raymond Riesco (1877-1964) before entering the
council's collection on his death.
The council aims to use the funds raised to
help redevelop the Fairfield Halls entertainment venue and
Christie's will now offer the items for sale in Hong Kong on
November 27, and expect to make over HK$113m (£9m).
The protestors have launched a petition and
have a Facebook site.
Steven Downes, editor of the InsideCroydonblog, told Museums
Journal: "We have to raise a serious five-figure sum so the
concerns of the local community, who don't want this collection
sold in a pawn-shop sale pushed through by the council, can be
properly and legally dealt with."
The judicial review would be based on a
challenge that the sale goes against council policy.
The rest of the Riesco collection,
comprising 206 other works spanning the Neolithic period to the
19th century, will remain in the Riesco Gallery in the Croydon
Clocktower where they are on free public view.
Croydon council recently announced it had resigned from the
Museums Association after the organisation's criticism of its