Tuesday, December 5, 2023
HomeNewsPrecious National Gallery ‘paintings at risk' from eco-loons after security staff cutbacks

Precious National Gallery ‘paintings at risk' from eco-loons after security staff cutbacks

Budget cuts for National Gallery security are putting precious works of arts at risk from protesters, curators have warned.

Staff were left open-mouthed as protesters freely wielded hammers to shatter the glass on Velazquez’s Rokeby Venus earlier this month. Last year, works by Constable and Van Gogh were set upon.

Now curators have expressed concern that a reduction in security guards has left the collection wide open to attacks or theft.

Previously each room would have its own guard, but now, as the purse strings are pulled tighter, security are tasked with overseeing as many as three or four rooms at once.

One curator told the Telegraph: “Guards are having to do three rooms. You can’t be in three places at once and there are large sections of the day where there’s no security in there at all.

“If King Charles’s loans got damaged, that would ruin any hope of further loans. Yet, the internal reports that we’re getting on the security is that everything went fine.”

Pointing to Just Stop Oil’s antics, they went on: “If you’re letting hammers into the National Gallery, you’ve got a serious problem with security.

“All museums and galleries, even in Europe, have problems with Just Stop Oil, but this is becoming a sort of epidemic now.

“The morale around the place is pretty low because there’s nothing to indicate that anything is going to change.”

Experts say that the Rokeby Venus attack has inflicted damage on the painting, as when the glass protecting it is smashed it can scratch or embed in the surface of the canvas.

A spokesman for the National Gallery told the publication that “minimal damage” had been sustained but added it was “not back on display yet”.

Just Stop Oil activist Phoebe Plummer, 22, shot to infamy for covering a Van Gogh in Heinz soup last year, has since been jailed for six months for slow-marching.

The pink-haired eco-warrior told a Sun undercover reporter that she was hoping for “at least five arrests and hoping for six or seven over three weeks” during Just Stop Oil’s latest wave of protests.

Earlier this year Express.co.uk revealed that, following her Van Gogh vandalism and subsequent ascension to eco poster girl, Plummer was embarking on a national university tour.

The climate crusader was travelling to meet students round the country in a major JSO recruitment drive.



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