Sell the Bouchardon Bust, says Councillor who Rediscovered it

October 26 2023

Image of Sell the Bouchardon Bust, says Councillor who Rediscovered it


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Interesting news from Scotland that a local Highland councillor, who rediscovered a very fine bust of Sir John Gordon of Invergordon by Bouchardon in the council's stores, has called for it to be sold. The bust was rediscovered in 1998 by Maxine Smith, now a local councillor, and former Highland councillor Andy Anderson when looking for 'missing' robes and chains of office in stores. The bust, which had been purchased by the council for £5 in 1931, had been holding open a door at the time. Since its rediscovery it has been exhibited at the Louvre and its market value has increased too. In the early 2000s it was valued at around £450,000, and the recent reports (linked above) suggest that it is now worth £2.5m.

Miss Smith is now in the process of calling for a public consultation to have the bust sold for funds for 'community projects':

The councillor wants the community to back a plan to sell the bust, and with the proceeds make a replica of the original to keep in a museum.

And with the proceeds of the sale, she wants backing to set up an Invergordon Common Good Fund, putting £125,000 back into community projects each year.

She said: “I’m so excited we played the long game.

“It may be that the community don’t wish to sell it, but to be honest it’s doing nobody any good sitting in the Inverness archive centre which is the only place secure enough to cover the insurance costs.”

Update - The BBC have published the story too earlier today. AHN's Bendor has been quoted giving his own opinion:

"Here is this work of art that has fallen into the lap of Highland Council for no money at all and it seems all they want to do is sell it for a lot of money to someone outside Scotland, when really there is no reason they can't lend it to Inverness Museum or National Galleries of Scotland or National Museum of Scotland."

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