Lincoln Usher Gallery: Artists oppose gallery wedding venue plan

Usher Gallery Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Usher Gallery houses works by famous artists, including L.S. Lowry, Henry Moore and Grayson Perry

Plans to turn parts of a gallery into a wedding venue have been criticised by art lovers.

Under proposals from Lincolnshire County Council areas of The Usher Gallery in Lincoln could be utilised for weddings, or celebrations.

The authority said it would look at moving "some of the artwork" to a neighbouring museum.

Opponents have said it would be "a huge loss" to the city if the collection was broken up.

Others expressed concern some of the art could be sold off or put into storage.

Artist John Byford, who lives in Lincolnshire, said: "I don't think a gallery should be used as a wedding venue. They should be quiet places where people can go to escape everyday life.

"You wouldn't go to the National Portrait Gallery to get married."

The proposals are part of wider plans by the authority to cut £750,000 a year from its heritage budget.

"Art shouldn't suffer just because the council wants to save money," Mr Byford said.

"When James Usher left money to the city to build this important venue it was for that purpose. It was for displaying art."

He would "turn in his grave" at recent events, Mr Byford added.

'Self-sufficient heritage'

The authority said it was exploring possible alternative uses for the Usher building with its owner, the City of Lincoln Council. It also wants to redevelop the neighbouring Collection Museum, which could then be used to house some of the works from the Usher.

Nick Worth, Executive Member for Culture, said: "These proposed changes are a step towards making the heritage service self-sufficient, and will ultimately help save around £750,000 each year."

The council said it was not yet at the stage where there were specific proposals for individual pieces of art.

Potted history of the Usher Gallery

Image caption The Usher houses works by famous artists, including Grayson Perry
  • The gallery is named after jeweller James Usher, who amassed a huge collection of ceramics, watches, clocks and paintings during his lifetime
  • Just two days before his death in September 1921, Usher bequeathed the whole of his collection to the City of Lincoln on the understanding that it would form the basis for a museum and art gallery
  • The Usher was officially opened on in 1927 with a solid gold key by the Prince of Wales
  • It features works by L.S. Lowry, Henry Moore and Grayson Perry

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