TWO marble centaur statues - bought by councillors at an auction in the 1940s - could be added to York’s museum collection.

The works of art are titled Young Centaur (tempted by love) and Old Centaur (bound by love).

Both of them were probably carved by Bartolomeo Cavaceppi in Rome in around 1755, according to a council report.

The statues were on display in the Assembly Rooms in 1950 and then loaned to York Art Gallery in 1975 - where they were put into storage.

Senior councillors and York Conservation Trust are now being asked to gift the centaurs to York Museums Trust.

Reyahn King, chief executive of York Museums Trust, said: “Not only are they an exquisite example of Bartolomeo Cavaceppi’s work, but having been commissioned by the Marquis of Rockingham in the 18th Century and later showcased in the Assembly Rooms, their connections to the City of York are fascinating.

“It is a testament to the city’s culture that three organisations have worked together to ensure that these important and beautiful sculptures, with such strong links to the city, are permanently housed in our public collections to benefit York’s residents and its visitors.”

Jonathan Bryant, of York Conversation Trust, added: “In 1949 our founder, Dr John Bowes Morrell, twice Lord Mayor of York, was instrumental in acquiring these exceptional items for the city.

“We are delighted that 70 years later they are to be formally accessioned into the city’s museum collection under the long-term custodianship of York Museums Trust.”

The report, prepared for an executive meeting on Thursday, says that selling the sculptures could involve costs, would have an uncertain outcome, and will damage relationships with the trusts. It adds that gifting the sculptures would ensure residents benefit from the artworks.