Kreitman’s donation opens Tate archive to the public

Spring 2002 to see new Research Centre at Millbank

The Tate is to set up a Research Centre at Millbank which will open up its library and archive to a wider public. Two reading rooms are being built on the lower level of Tate Britain, in an area which until recently was a picture store (it is no longer needed, with the establishment of a new store in Southwark). The Tate library covers British painting from the Renaissance and international art from around 1900, and includes 120,000 exhibition catalogues. The archive concentrates on twentieth century British art, and holds important papers of Duncan Grant, Roger Fry, Stanley Spencer, Kenneth Clark, Paul Nash, Ben Nicholson and Barbara Hepworth. Although the Research Centre will initially only be open by appointment, access will be much easier than at present. There will be 40 seats, compared with two in the existing library (on the upper administration floor) and five in the archive (in an adjacent building in John Islip Street). A purpose-built reading room for special material will also offer better security (the lay-out of the existing archive made it possible for the faker John Drewe to tamper with papers in order to provide false provenances for forged paintings). The new Research Centre is being funded with £2.2 million from the Kreitman Foundation, set up by former Tesco chairman Hyman Kreitman and his wife Irene, and the Research Centre will open in spring 2002.

Appeared in The Art Newspaper Archive, 115 June 2001