Barry Joule, a close friend of the artist, says the gallery has not kept to a pledge to stage exhibitions of the works

When more than 1,200 sketches, photographs and documents from the studio of Francis Bacon were donated to the Tate in 2004, it was described as one of the most generous gifts the gallery had ever received, estimated to be worth £20m. Now the donor is threatening to cancel the gift, accusing the gallery of reneging on pledges to stage exhibitions of the material.

Barry Joule, a longstanding friend of Bacon, had wanted the items to go to the Tate, as it had been the artist’s favourite gallery. Over the years, he kept expecting the Tate to do justice to it with an exhibition, as he says they had planned on accepting the gift. He wrote repeatedly to curatorial staff, asking when the show would happen.

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