18 JANUARY 1975, Page 24

Will Waspe

I am surprised to see that a public appeal has been launched to raise £52,000 to keep in this country — at the National Portrait Gallery — a

collection of Victorian photographs sold for that amount at Sotheby's to an American buyer last autumn. The photographs (ninety-four of them) ate by the portrait photographer, Mrs Julia Margaret Cameron, and many of them are, of course, interesting.

I wish the fund-raisers the best of luck in their endeavours, so long as it is understood that, if the target is not reached, the taxpayer will not be found, one way or another, footing the rest of the bill.

Rare and historic paintings are one question; photographs are quite another. There are doubtless good reasons for the National Portrait Gallery to have a photographic record of some of Mrs Cameron's more distinguished subjects (Tennyson, Carlyle, Trollope and so on), but it is presumably a simple matter for experts to produce respectable prints from these originals.

Dutch treat?

Whatever ill-luck my colleague Evan Anthony may be having in his search for artistic rewards in the London galleries, he is fortunate that we are not yet at the pass apparently reached in Holland.

I have at hand a communication from one Henk Jurriaans which reads as follows: "The City of Amsterdam has bought my behaviour. My behaviour, or I, from now on an official work of art, will be exhibited in the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. . My behaviour will be my normal everyday behaviour, so nothing spectacular in that sense. Isn't that spectacular?"

He is on display daily from one till two in the afternoon, January 18 to February 9.

Golden boys

One man who may be interested in the above is the nonagenarian artist, Duncan Grant (well, he'll be ninety next week), survivor of the Bloomsbury group. Grant, I hear, has recently finished a portrait of Gilbert and George, two local chaps who like to regard themselves and their behaviour as works of art — though they tend to make more of a show and often paint themselves gold and pose as 'living sculpture'. So far as I know, however, they have not actually been bought by the city,