A museum that displays works by artists who lived during the reign of Queen Elizabeth II has been criticised by one of its trustees over its depiction of the monarchy.
In a statement to the BBC, the Smithsonian Institution said it was “deeply troubled” by the museum’s display of work by some of the UK’s most famous British artists.
“In a recent presentation, the museum acknowledged that it may have some issues with the monarchy’s role as a sovereign state,” the statement read.
“This is a matter of public record and is discussed in our public service announcements.”
But the museum also said it “cannot ignore the fact that the Smithsonian has an obligation to uphold the highest standards of scholarship and the highest ethical standards.”
“The museum has always been a space that engages the public in the public domain,” the museum added.
“The purpose of the museum is to celebrate and inform the world of the world’s past and present, but we cannot ignore that our past is not in the museum.”
The statement added that the museum had been “in touch with its trustees” and was “considering how best to move forward”.
“The Smithsonian has a longstanding policy of not displaying any artwork that is likely to be associated with the UK monarch,” the institution said.
“As such, we do not believe that the display of the works by those who have lived in and/or visited Britain during the monarchy is in the best interests of the institution.”
A similar statement was made by the British National Gallery, which is also a part of the Smithsonian.
The British museum has since confirmed that it has removed the works, which were displayed on the British Museum website earlier this year.
A statement from the museum said the works were removed as part of an ongoing effort to remove British subjects from public view.
“A number of works by some British artists, including the late and great Claude Monet, are now on display at the British museum, which has been a home to their works for more than 150 years,” the Smithsonian statement read, according to the Associated Press.
“These works are part of a larger exhibition by the Smithsonian’s British Heritage Division and are part, but not the only, of the collection of the American National Museum.”
Some of the other works on display include the work of the great British painter John Keats, and paintings by the Scottish artist William Morris.
“Other British artists including Claude Monets, Richard Rogers and James Joyce are also included in this collection.”
British National Gallery has always encouraged museums to exhibit and discuss their collection of British and American artworks.
“We appreciate that the British and US museums have had to change their practices in response to the public’s questions about their holdings, and we are pleased that the American museum has not chosen to follow suit.”
A British government spokesman told the BBC that the government had nothing to do with the removal of the artwork.
“It is the Smithsonian and the American museums who have a responsibility to preserve the rich and varied history of the United Kingdom,” the spokesman said.
“That is why they are not displaying these works.”
“We will continue to work with the Smithsonian to find a solution to the problem.”