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Andrew Lloyd Webber criticised for theatre art display

alwThe art charity run by Andrew Lloyd Webber is under fire for letting Webber use one of the paintings from the collection valued at £6m to promote a Webber show playing in the West End.

The charity trustees gave permission for the JW Waterhouse painting of St. Cecilia to be placed outside of the Palace Theatre in London to promote the musical production of Woman in White.

However, the board was criticized by the Charity Commission for making it appear that its founder was able to benefit from the charity’s works.  The Commission felt that the placement of the St. Cecilia was meant to benefit the founder of the charity monetarily which was not acceptable.

In its report the Commission stated that trustees need to manage the perceptions that certain decisions may leave the public with so that the public does not lose confidence and trust in not only the Webber charity, but any other charity group in general.

The Andrew Lloyd Webber Art Foundation purchased the St. Cecilia in 2000 for £6.7m with money that was donated from Webber.

A portion of the cost was also fronted by the gift aid scheme that allows charities to get out of paying the tax on a donation.

According to charity law, the painting should have been made available to the public for viewing but not in a way that would benefit Webber.  Outside of this mistake, the Commission did report that most of the charity’s works were focused for the public benefit.

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