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Council minutes

RA Collection: Archive

Reference code



Council minutes


05 Jan 1965 - 07 Dec 1965



Extent & medium

1 file, 44 pieces

Previous reference codes

401 B

Content Description

Minutes of meetings of the Council, including the following selected entries: discussion of the proposal to publish a history of the Royal Academy in 1968, to be written by the Librarian, Sidney Hutchison, 2 February 1965; reference by the President, Sir Charles Wheeler, to the possibility of allowing the Michelangelo tondo [‘The Madonna and Child with the Infant St John’] to go on loan to the USSR in exchange for Russian art treasures, an idea which the Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, had described as “imaginative”, 9 March 1965; detailed minutes of a discussion on the role of the Treasurer, Donald McMorran, in the events which had led up to the resignation of the previous Treasurer, Sir Basil Spence, in October 1964, when McMorran had criticised the state of the Royal Academy’s finances, despite the fact that the Academy was, in the words of John Aldridge, in an “obviously healthy financial position”, discussion of the Treasurer’s relationship with the Secretary, Humphrey Brooke, the assertion of both the Treasurer and the Secretary that they could work together and the decision of the President, Sir Charles Wheeler, to order that various documents which had been brought to the meeting, including a statement from himself, dated 5 March 1965, calling on the Treasurer to resign, should be destroyed, 9 March 1965; the decision of the Council to request that the Treasurer, Donald McMorran, tender his resignation, in view of the fact that he and the Secretary, Humphrey Brooke, “were still not able to work in harmony”, the Treasurer’s agreement to resign and the expression of hope by the President, Sir Charles Wheeler, that “none of the recent proceedings should be divulged to the press”, 23 March 1965; discussion of the important issue of Council’s commitment to the proposed loan of the Michelangelo tondo, in the face of opposition from the General Assembly, 1 June and 15 June 1965; discussion of the method of recording the minutes, following the receipt of a letter from Ruskin Spear, who advocated the attendance of a stenographer to help the Secretary, and note of the resignation of the Earl of Crawford and Balcarres as Professor of Ancient History, because of “divergent views” on “major questions of principle”, 13 July 1965; lengthy report of a discussion of the 1966 summer exhibition, including a proposal to encourage the submission of works by Scottish artists, 26 October 1965; and report of an “extremely serious” theft of gold objects, all of them relating to former Academicians, from the showcases in the Saloon: it was agreed that publicity about the theft would be “highly undesirable”, 16 November 1965.