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Plans to turn Whitechapel Bell Foundry into a hotel get go-ahead

15 November 2019

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Plans to turn Whitechapel Bell Foundry into hotel get go-ahead | The development committee for Tower Hamlets Council has approved plans to convert the historic Whitechapel Bell Foundry into a cafe and boutique hotel. The foundry ceased manufacturing in 2016 and the site was sold to developers in 2017. A council report claims that the new owners’ planning application will offer ‘long-term public access’ to the foundry, but it has been highly controversial and the committee has received 780 objections and criticism from the UK Historic Buildings Preservation Trust. Campaigners are likely to appeal against the decision. Read Gillian Darley’s plea to save the foundry in Apollo

Experts suggest Botticelli ‘copy’ at National Museum Cardiff could be real | Experts appearing on BBC Four’s Britain’s Lost Masterpieces have found evidence to suggest that a depiction of the Virgin and Child that has long been dismissed as a Botticelli copy, may be real. Cleaning and conservation of the work has revealed an under-drawing that suggests it was produced and revised at the Old Master’s studio, and a doodle of a man in profile that experts say is almost certainly by Botticelli himself. The work is on display at the National Museum Cardiff, which received it in 1952 as a bequest from Gwendoline Davies.

German parliament approves new €364m budget for Berlin museum | Germany’s lower house of parliament has approved a new €364 budget for Berlin’s planned Museum of the 20th Century, significally surpassing the original estimate of €200 for construction costs. The museum has been designed by Herzog & de Meuron architects to give exhibition space to much of the holdings of 20th-century art that are kept in storage at the Neue Nationalgalerie. The upper house is expected to also approve the new figure.

Safani gallery files lawsuit to stop ancient artefact returning to Italy | Safani Gallery filed a lawsuit against the Republic of Italy at the Southern District Court in New York on Wednesday, claiming that the provenance of an ancient bust of Alexander the Great as the sun god Helios, which was seized from the gallery by authorities in February, had been investigated by the Art Loss Registry and found legitimate. Italy alleges that the artefact was illegally exported and must be returned. Neither party has yet provided proof of provenance that predates the first known records of the work going to auction at Sotheby’s in 1974.