The loss of vital funds to help with the running costs of the William Lamb Studio has been met with fury by residents of Montrose.
They have taken to social media to vent their anger at the withdrawal of common good funding which paid for a summer assistant to ensure the studio was open five afternoons a week.
The studio was a bequest to the people of Montrose but the ownership has since passed to Angus Council.
Angus Alive support ended in April and the volunteers have been disappointed that a common good application has also failed.
Former councillor David May was among many who vented their anger on Facebook.
He revealed at a meeting over the future of the William Lamb Studio, it was clear from a minuted commitment by Angus Council the studio would be maintained and open in perpetuity by the local authority.
He said: “It is not clear legally how the council can now walk away and Angus Alive can wash their hands of it.
“Why did it take the council officers so long to inform the Friends and why did they not at least contact the chairman?
“Furthermore, the officers seems to have kept the Friends out of the loop and there has been little or no communication to them since then.
“If the council could fund an assistant for the summer months this would give the Friends time to consider and develop a long term solution.”
Dr Kristien Hintjens, a campaigner for local services in the town, also condemned the withdrawal of common good funding.
She said: “The lack of consultation and the rapidity of decision-making and withdrawal of funds/assistance from the museum is a disgrace.
“The internationally renowned William Lamb Studio was gifted to the council in 1952 by his sister after his death and was meant to be maintained in perpetuity by the council who seem to want to wash their hands of it.”
Angus Alive Chairperson Kenny Fraser, said: “Our Museums, Galleries & Archives team have previously supported the William Lamb Studio to open during July and August and by arrangement at other times of the year.
“The seasonal museum assistant, annual property maintenance and running costs were funded from the Montrose Common Good.
“With this financial support discontinued from April 1 2018, Angus Alive has reviewed its role with the studio and we will no longer be able to operate the facility but will continue to care for and manage the artist’s art and sculptures as custodians of the collections of Angus Council for the people of Angus.
“We are committed to working closely with our partners at Angus Council and the Friends of William Lamb Studio as they explore future options to secure continuing public access to the artist’s collection.
“Angus Alive has therefore been liaising with the Friends of William Lamb Studio to confirm insurance is in place to enable them to open the building as volunteer key holders and we have provided dates for the training required to support the volunteers to open the studio independently.”