Image sales

Cheryl Hall made this Freedom of Information request to The Victoria and Albert Museum

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

The request was refused by The Victoria and Albert Museum.

Dear The Victoria and Albert Museum,

Please could you tell me much profit, giving a year by year breakdown (after all expenses and associated costs are deducted) has the Victoria and Albert Museum made from image sales for the past 10 years or as many as the service has been running for if less than 10 years.

Yours faithfully,

Cheryl Hall

Dear The Victoria and Albert Museum,

Please could you reply to my FOI request, by law you are required to respond within 20 working days

Yours faithfully,

Cheryl Hall

Christopher Marsden, The Victoria and Albert Museum

Dear Cheryl Hall,

Thank you for your enquiry addressed to the V&A concerning image sales.
I am replying on behalf of V&A Enterprises, a separate organisation
wholly owned by the V&A, which handles image sales. I apologise that our
response has been delayed.

V&A Enterprises does hold figures demonstrating the profitability of
V&A Images, but these are not disclosed in the Company's published
accounts. The figures we hold are subject to the internal allocation of
the direct and indirect costs attributable to this section of the
company's business. They cannot reliably be used for a comparison with
any other institution, but their release would nevertheless be
commercially damaging to the business. We have concluded, therefore that
the information is exempt from release under section 43(2) of the
Freedom of Information Act (commercial interests).

This exemption is subject to a public interest test, which we have
examined with the following conclusion: we acknowledge a public interest
in knowing that the V&A's trading company is efficiently and profitably
managed, although we do not believe that the public interest extends to
seeing a detailed analysis of the profitability of the different streams
of the Company's business. On the other hand there is a clear public
interest in V&A Enterprises being able to conduct its business
effectively in a competitive environment, in order to support the work
of the V&A; release of information which would never be available from
competitors in the private sector would clearly undermine that
effectiveness. In the circumstances of the case we do not believe that
the public interest in releasing the information outweighs the public
interest in maintaining confidentiality.

You may be interested to know that annual turnover figures are
available until 2009 in the Company's published accounts, as follows:

31/3/2009 £343,118
31/3/2008 £362,178
31/3/2007 £402,755
31/3/2006 £356,221
31/3/2005 £260,062
31/3/2004 £291,635

You may also like to know that copies of images are in many cases
supplied by the V&A free of charge through its Search the Collections
facility, for private use and for publications with a print run up to
4,000 copies. Search the Collections may be accessed through the web
and guidance on image use may be found here:

I hope that this information will be helpful to you. In accordance
with the Freedom of Information Act, the V&A does operate a complaints
procedure and if you are dissatisfied with our response to your request
you may make a complaint, in the first instance to myself as the V&A's
Freedom of Information Officer. If your complaint is not handled to your
satisfaction you also have the right to refer the matter to the
Information Commissioner.

Yours sincerely,

Christopher Marsden

Senior Archivist
Word & Image Department
Victoria and Albert Museum Archives
Blythe House, 23 Blythe Road
London W14 0QX

Tel: 020 7603 6304
Email: [email address]

The V&A's Word & Image Department incorporates the National Art Library

and the Museum's prints, drawings, paintings and photographs

show quoted sections

Dear Christopher

Many thanks for your reply

Yours sincerely,

Cheryl Hall