In conversation with Leonora Gummer



Workshop of this week at Debut Contemporary is titled Copyright and Resale Rights and is held by Leonora Gummer, Senior Manager of the Artists Collecting Society,

We are pleased to publish this Q&A with Leonora, in order to introduce the public to her and to her work at the Artists Collecting Society.

  1. Hi Leonora and thanks for coming today. For those of us who don’t know, can you tell us a bit about what the ACS is and what it does? ACS is one of two collecting societies in the UK.  We collect the Artist Resale Right (ARR) on behalf of our member artists.  ARR is a royalty that must be paid on any secondary sales of artists in copyright (living or within seventy years of their date of death).  This royalty can only be collected by a collecting society and applies to works of art by EU citizens, specifically those which are sold for over €1,000.
  2. In one sentence: why do artists need to know about copyright and resale rights? Copyright is very important in that it is the best tool to protect your images from unauthorised use and, later on in your career, the resale right can be a useful contribution to your income.
  3. Could you explain to us how the ACS directly benefits artists? ACS is a not for profit company but we are also a Community Interest Company.  This means that, after covering our administrative costs, the remaining funds must be used to benefit the artistic community.  We currently sponsor a bursary at the Royal Academy Schools, various prizes for emerging artists, the Koestler Trust (a prison arts charity) and make contributions to the Artists’ General Benevolent Institution.  In this way, we hope that ACS can be a force for good in the art world.  In addition to this we are able to offer various services which are unique to ACS.  Our member artists’ exhibitions are publicised on our website and newsletter and they each have an individual page on our website where they can display images, forthcoming events and a biography.  In addition to this, we are able to offer the services of the Bridgeman Art Library, our sister company.
  4. And could you now tell us about your affiliate, the Bridgeman Art Library – again, specifically how our artists can benefit from that connection? The Bridgeman Art Library is the world’s largest fine art image library and holds over a million images from thousands of museums and private collections worldwide.  A great many of ACS’ member artists are also affiliated with Bridgeman who are able to handle their copyright should they wish.  Artists are also able to place images with the library.  These are then carefully marketed to the correct client and used in a number of different industries including publishing, television, paper products (greeting cards, calendars etc), interior design and many more, creating an important revenue stream for the artist. As well as a copyright fee, an artist will also receive a reproduction fee.
  5. What can the ACS do for dealers and collectors? ACS is able to liaise between artists and dealers wherever this is required.  In addition to this, we are always looking for new ways to ease the administrative burden of ARR for dealers.  In many cases we take over the responsibility for checking through a dealer’s sales to record which are eligible for ARR.
  6. Do you have any personal favourites amongst the artists you work with? We are so pleased to have nearly 800 artists, all of whom I admire, so it is rather difficult to name just one or two.  Christopher Nevinson has always been one of my favourite artists; his etchings of WWI are the best of the period in my view and never fail to move me. On a more contemporary note, Maggi Hambling’s wave pictures are wonderful.  She paints near to where I was brought up and her seascapes really encapsulate the rather ominous but magnificent spirit of the North Sea. Of course, one of the great things about this job is looking for new artists who we feel have great potential so a great deal of time is spent going to graduate shows and other events in search of new talent.


Thanks very much Leonora and we look forward to seeing you very soon!

 To find out more about Debut Academy click here…



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