The Bank of England Removes Portraits and Busts

August 31 2021

Image of The Bank of England Removes Portraits and Busts


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News has emerged that the Bank of England have removed 10 painted portraits and 7 busts of governors and directors with known connections to the slave trade in the 18th and 19th centuries. Images of those removed include Gilbert Heathcote, the Bank's founding director and a governor, James Bateman, Robert Bristow, Robert Clayton, William Dawsonne, William Manning and John Pearse.

A Bank of England spokesperson has been quoted saying:

The review is now complete and artworks depicting former Governors and Directors, where we have been able to establish links to the slave trade, have been removed from display.

We have also appointed a researcher to work in our Museum to explore the Bank's historic links with the transatlantic slave trade in detail. This work will inform future Museum displays interpreting these connections.


As the new wave of Puritanism marches on, we wonder why it wasn't possible for the likes of Heathcote and Bristow to see into the future. Trying to untangle the 'inexcusable connections' through the removal of art seems like a rather interesting place to start.

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