Lichfield District Council

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Developing public artworks

Boosting our local area through public artworks

Old Father Time

In 2008, the statue known locally as Old Father Time (Donna Che Trattiene il Tempo) was sold at auction at Sothebys in London. The council generated £150,000 through the sale (less commission charged by the auction house) and committed to invest this money in other public artworks locally.

The council plans to develop a strategy to invest the money in public artworks, and will be seeking public views throughout the process to ensure the final artworks delivered are right for the local area, supported by the local community and boost the area's attractiveness to visitors and tourists. 

About the sale of the statue 

In 2008, the statue, by Donato Barcaglia and donated to the people of Lichfield by Colonel Swinfen Broun, had not had a permanent home for number of years. As a result, it had been stored in controlled conditions at a cost to the taxpayer of £800 a year.

In addition, after seeking expert advice, we were also advised that, despite controlled storage conditions, the statue was likely to deteriorate in storage and that a new/more suitable home needed to be found.

Cllr David S. Smith, Leader of Lichfield District Council at the time of the sale, said: "Whilst it is very sad to say goodbye to such a stunning piece of artwork, the proceeds from its sale will now be ring-fenced for public art projects across the district. This means we will be able to now create a lasting and local legacy, through artwork involving many different artists, local people and local groups.  We will be working up proposals this winter for a public art fund that will help to invest the money over the coming years."

Developing a strategy to invest in public artworks

The strategy has not yet been published, but to find out more in advance of the publication date, email Communications & Tourism Manager, elizabeth.thatcher@lichfielddc.gov.uk or call 01543 308781

More about the statue

Before the auction, the statue was placed on display. To see footage of the exhibition, click the 'play' button below. If you can't see anything, you may need to install Adobe Flash Player on your PC.