The problem of funding York City Art Gallery, or any important national collection, will be apparent to anyone after reading about the most recent acquisition Bernini's portrait of Nicolas Poussin.

While art-lovers will appreciate the Civic Trust's generous contribution, your report (November 2) suggests the contribution of the Friends of York Art Gallery was rather less than the £3,000 mentioned.

In fact, it was significantly more.

It is too easily forgotten that, following the notorious gallery robbery, City of York Council declined to pay for the restoration of the damaged works of art.

Once again the Friends of York Art Gallery stepped in to raise the money and save the collection.

Despite this, the council shows scant regard for the views of the Friends. It seemed reasonable that the newly-introduced entrance fee might be waived for Yorkshire people wishing to attend the popular lunchtime talks. There is an oddity, is there not, in the council charging for what the Friends provide free?

To this suggestion, a council grandee - perhaps confusing gallery with Guildhall - retorted sourly that speakers must not expect to be paid.

The Friends of York Art Gallery is a registered charity. No one is paid, or would seek to be paid. Indeed, members are prepared to pay for the privilege of serving the cause of art and art appreciation in York.

The art gallery may justly be considered the Cinderella of leisure provision in York, Alas! There is, as yet, no fairy Godmother.

William Dixon Smith,

Welland Rise,