South West Wales

Swansea Museum interest 'soars' since masterpiece discovery

The painting was discovered in a storeroom Image copyright Heritage Images
Image caption The painting was discovered in a storeroom

Interest in Swansea Museum has "soared" since a 17th Century Flemish masterpiece was discovered in its storeroom, the city council has said.

The council said "scores" of people have come to see the masterpiece, worth about £3m, and website traffic tripled.

But AM Dr Dai Lloyd said there was a "real and present danger" cuts could lead to the museum's closure.

The authority said there are no plans to close the museum building, but they are considering "short-term savings".

The painting by artist Jacob Jordaens was found last month.

Dr Lloyd said its discovery underlined the crucial importance of the museum.

He added: "This is something we should celebrate and develop, not run down.

"There is a real and present danger that cutbacks to key staff could mean closure - a disaster for Swansea and the whole of Wales."

Image copyright Google
Image caption The council has said there are no plans to close the museum building

Swansea councillor Robert Francis-Davies said a review into cultural services was "looking to secure external investment in the building, while exploring other ways to make short-term museum service savings".

He added: "Not only have the museum's website and social media accounts gone into overdrive, but we've also had scores of people from across the country visiting the museum to see the painting with their own eyes."

Identified as part of BBC Four series, Britain's Lost Masterpieces, the painting is a rare oil study for one of Jordaens' best-known works, Atalanta and Meleager, which hangs in the Prado Museum in Madrid.

It will be on display in the museum for the coming months.

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