A community-led campaign to legally challenge the sale of what is now left of the Riesco collection has recently been encouraged by substantial financial support from an anonymous donor. The £10,000 has gone towards the costs of legal proceedings in an attempt to challenge by way of judicial review the decision of Croydon Council on the 24th July this year, to deaccession the various items of antique Chinese ceramics.
If successful, the group will bring a halt to a Christie’s auction to be held in Hong Kong later this month. Croydon Council hopes to raise funds in the region of £14 million, which in part, will be allocated to the refurbishment of Fairfield Halls, a theatre benefiting ticket-holders.
Whether the council’s decision to sell-off items bequeathed to the people of Croydon by businessman Raymond Riesco in the 1950s, demands a full judicial review, will depend upon a High Court ruling that may come down in the coming week. Labour Councillor, Timothy Godfrey and local resident, Steven Downes, have been instrumental in the campaign to see a review ensue and donations towards the cost of legal proceedings are now being gratefully received.
It will certainly be pertinent to see how the appointed Judge deals with the council’s decision to allocate a percentage of the funds raised by auction to arts and culture within the borough. Not only has this tenuous point on deaccessioning recently been deliberated in the UK museum sector, it has also been highly topical in the United States – with regards to Detroit in particular.