July 23, 2004
More Macclesfield Psalter news
A bit more background on the tussle over "the most important medieval illuminated manuscript found in Britain in living memory" -- source necessarily anonymous, but as reliable as they come:
Astonishing, but the Heritage Lottery Fund posted the Fitzwilliam's acquisition grant request online well before the auction -- not only publicly disclosing the museum's interest (which was supposed to be secret -- hence the use of a dealer as bidding agent), but also the exact amount requested (£2,359,080). To be sure, the Fitzwilliam might have been planning to kick in some funds of their own, but at the least it revealed the minimum they were prepared to bid.
Even worse, my source reports that the Lottery Fund's decision not to give the grant was ultimately based on reasons of extreme political correctness. To wit, that the Psalter would not be meaningful to non-Christians, and that its small size would make it too difficult to view by the wheelchair-bound (not to mention, one supposes, the blind -- or would that be, "differently sighted"?).
Apparently, the decision last year to fund the acquisition of Raphael's Madonna of the Pinks was "in part because [it was felt that] young single mothers could relate to the experience of suddenly finding themselves pregnant like the Virgin Mary".
Posted by David on July 23, 2004 9:34 AM