15 OCTOBER 1954, Page 16

END OF THE TATE AFFAIR SIR,—Your article on ' The

End of the Tate Affair' is seriously misinformed. In view of your references to my resignation, I should be grateful if you would allow me to put on record several facts to which your attention may not have been drawn.

1. You appear to believe that current criti- cism of the gallery arises from a campaign of calumny,' and that the criticisms I made when I resigned have been examined and found negligible. At the time of my resigna-

tion I stated that I had already wished to resign in the winter of 1952-53, and I may add that my reasons had no connection what- ever with what you describe as a campaign to hound Sir John Rothenstein out of Mill- bank.' I was at that time persuaded to re- main in the belief that the causes of my disquiet would be removed, and when I did resign after very careful consideration I ex- plained my reasons briefly to the Press and, in a lengthy memorandum, to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The Report evades these criticisms.

2. I have in my possession letters from fellow trustees written at the time of my resignation telling me that my disquiet was fully shared by my colleagues. One trustee, who was present at a meeting held on January 22, 1954, informed me that ' every trustee present felt exactly as you do ... ,' that there was no reason to feel that the Board would not be again confronted with similar em- barrassments. Other trustees wrote regret- ting my resignation because they thought that if such action proved necessary—which at one point they thought possible—the trustees should resign en masse.

3. You suggest that the ' deplorable rumours' (discussed in the New Statesman and Nation) about staff troubles are unfoun- ded. There is to my personal knowledge only too much truth in these rumours. Evidence can be easily obtained from many of the people concerned. Perhaps I shall sufficiently make my point if I recall that during my six years period as a trustee, five special enquiries had to be held into staff relations and administration.

I should add that during my time at the Tate, I found myself deeply troubled, as one internal crisis succeeded another, by what I came to feel was unfair treatment of indivi- dual members of the staff.

4. As a postscript to the trustees' report, it should be observed that three more mem- bers of the staff (not connected with the recent irregularities in the handling of trust funds) have left the gallery since the end of the period covered by the report.

S. In view of the misunderstandings in your article and elsewhere in the press, I felt obliged to make this brief reply. I have made it as factual and uncontroversial as possible because I am not prepared, just now, to devote more energy or time to this matter. I find it impossible to reconcile the demands of my work as a painter with the distractions of controversy.—Yours faithfully,