Byline: Sally Hoban
Iopened a letter recently and inside the envelope, written in a delicate, graceful hand, was an events guide from the regional group of The Art Fund.
After I had got over my surprise at receiving a letter with handwriting on it (it was signed Celia in a flurry of friendly green pen), I thought how refreshing it was to be sent something in the post that had been put together with such time and care.
So I went to meet Celia Potts, who coordinates the group's activities from her home in Edgbaston, to find out more about how the Art Fund works in the Midlands and ask her how she became involved in the group's work.
The Art Fund is an independent, membership-based charity committed to saving art for everyone to enjoy.
There are 80,000 members today, including collectors, professional art and antique specialists, and members of the public who simply love art.
The Fund began in 1903 and since then over 860,000 works have been purchased for public collections or saved for the nation after a high profile campaigns to keep them in the UK.
One recent success was Titian's Diana and Actaeon, which was jointly acquired by the National Galleries of Scotland and the National Gallery in London earlier this year. The work of the Fund is vital, because as the price of art and antiques continues to rise, public funds for museum acquisitions become more limited.
The wonderful exhibition Matthew Boulton: Selling What all the World Desires, which continues until September 27 at the Gas Hall at Birmingham Mu-seuand Art Gallery, contains several exhibits that were part-funded by the Art Fund.
BMAG received its first Art Fund supported pieces (a series of stained glass cartoons by the Pre-Raphaelite artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti), in 1905.
Celia is waiting for me at the entrance to the exhibition, standing next to a pair of wonderful, resplendent Sphinxes which originally stood in the landscaped grounds at Soho House, Boulton's magnificent home in Birmingham. They were purchased with the help of the Art Fund, the Friends of the museum, the Heritage Lottery Fund, the MLA/V& A Purchase Grant Fund and Birmingham City Council.
Originally from Birmingham, Celia has always been interested in …