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    Stuart Leech: The Design Museum on Shad Thames (courtesy Stuart Leech/Spear’s)

Photographer Stuart Leech explores the philanthropic principle in the art world

Posted by Rob Alderson,

In a climate of increasingly ferocious arts funding cuts, the role of the cultural philanthropist has rarely been more significant. Photographer Stuart Leech is working with Spear’s magazine to exhibit an interesting set of pictures which explores the relationship between altruistic donors and the various ways in which their largesse is recognised. From the solemn stone inscriptions of the British Museum to the modern, monochrome typographic treatment of the Design Museum, and from funny theatre seat dedications to ornate gold leaf inscriptions, Stuart’s series (taken over the course of a single day) tells us something about generosity and the need for it to be validated.

Spear’s editor Josh Spero said he was struck by the amount of names that reoccur across various museums and galleries but added: “The variety of donors is heartening, reflecting the percolation of the philanthropic ideal (and necessity) throughout society. Philanthropy in this way has acquired a fashionable patina, which is no bad thing, although like most fashions, there is the danger it might be replaced. What we need to do is ensure it endures — the question is how.”

To find out more about the show, which takes on February 12 in London, email Josh.

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    Stuart Leech: A seat in the cinema at the Institute of Contemporary Art, with a plaque reading: ‘The seat – donated by Terry Gilliam; the view – somebody else’s fault’ (courtesy Stuart Leech/Spear’s)

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    Stuart Leech: The City Gallery supported by the City of London Corporation in the Museum of London (courtesy Stuart Leech/Spear’s)

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    Stuart Leech: The HSBC Money Gallery at the British Museum; this is now the Citi Money Gallery (courtesy Stuart Leech/Spear’s)

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    Stuart Leech: Major donors’ names inscribed on the Rotunda in the British Museum’s Great Court under the the undulating glass ceiling (courtesy Stuart Leech/Spear’s)

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    Stuart Leech: The Wohl Room in the National Gallery, which contains Venetian paintings (courtesy Stuart Leech/Spear’s)

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    Stuart Leech: The Yves Saint Laurent Room at the National Gallery; his name is above Philippe de Champaigne’s portrait of Cardinal de Richelieu (courtesy Stuart Leech/Spear’s)

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Posted by Rob Alderson

Editor-in-Chief Rob oversees editorial across all three It’s Nice That platforms; online, print and events. He has a background in newspaper journalism and a particular interest in art, advertising and photography. He is the main host of the Studio Audience podcast.