Important work by Peter Lanyon, one of Britain's foremost post-war artists, acquired for the University

Mural, gouache on paper, 1963 © Peter Lanyon Estate, with thanks to Gimpel Fils

The Arts Council England has announced that three works by Peter Lanyon (1918 – 1964) have been acquired for the nation and allocated to three different UK art galleries through the Acceptance in Lieu (AIL) scheme. They have been accepted from the estate of his widow, Sheila Lanyon. An oil painting has been allocated to Tate, and two large gouaches to the University of Birmingham’s Research and Cultural Collections, and the Victoria Gallery & Museum, University of Liverpool.

These gouaches are full-size, painted on board and differ considerably from the completed murals. As such they are key works in themselves and important in tracing the development of Lanyon’s artistic thought when undertaking large public commissions. The gouache is the first work allocated to the University of Birmingham through the AIL scheme.

Peter Lanyon was a Cornish painter, and part of the second generation of St Ives artists. His landscapes were heavily abstracted, though remained concerned with figural depiction.

Professor Sir David Eastwood, Vice-Chancellor and Principal, University of Birmingham, said: “We are delighted to receive this outstanding piece of art through the AIL scheme. It will be a significant and relevant addition to our Campus Collection of Fine and Decorative Art within our Research and Cultural Collections. An important art work in its own right, this gouache sketch, along with the full-sized mural and early drawing already included in our collection, offers an important research resource for those wishing to study the artistic process of Peter Lanyon, a key artist in Britain’s post-war scene.”

Edward Harley OBE, Chair, Acceptance in Lieu Panel, said: “I am delighted that two institutions which have never been allocated anything through AIL have received such significant works by Peter Lanyon, and that Tate should be allocated Clevedon Bandstand, one of his most celebrated works. Tate’s significant contribution and willingness in storing the artworks during the consideration of their offer, has meant that two regional institutions have been able to acquire works of great significance to them. As preparatory designs for public murals at these universities, it seems fitting that they should be allocated to Liverpool and Birmingham. This example of a national museum aiding those in the regions sets an admirable model for others to follow.”

Nicholas Serota, Chair, Arts Council England, said: “Although he died early, Peter Lanyon is increasingly recognised as one of the most important painters of the post-war period. Clevedon Bandstand is a painting that marks a turning point in his development, while the studies for the public murals demonstrate the admiration for his work that led to such commissions and his ability to work on a large scale. I am delighted that these three works will now be seen in such appropriate collections.”

For more information please contact:

Clare Mullett, Director of Culture and Engagement and Head of Research and Cultural Collections or Dominic Benson, Deputy Director of Communications, University of Birmingham Tel: +44 (0) 121 414 5134, +44 (0) 7789 921 165

Notes to editors

Download images of the works here – please use the credits and captions provided.
The acceptance of the three works settled £893,775 of tax

Details of the them are as follows:
George Peter Lanyon (1918 – 1964)
Untitled (Sketch for Birmingham University Mural)
gouache on paper
executed 1963
111 5/8 in. by 215 in.
Tax settled: £184,388

The Acceptance in Lieu scheme is administered by the Arts Council. The Acceptance in Lieu Panel, chaired by Edward Harley, advises on whether property offered in lieu is of suitable importance and offered at a value which is fair to both nation and taxpayer. AIL allows those who have a bill to Inheritance Tax to pay the tax by transferring important cultural, scientific or historic objects to the nation. Material accepted under the scheme is allocated to public collections and is available for all. In the last decade this important government initiative has brought over £330m worth of treasures into public ownership for the enjoyment of all.

The Arts Council is the national development body for arts and culture across England, working to enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to visual art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2018 and 2022, we will invest £1.45 billion of public money from government and an estimated £860 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.