A BBC art historian has said art galleries prevent visitors taking phone photographs so they can sell more tea-towels and postcards, after he was told off for photographing an exhibit at the National Gallery in Scotland.Dr Bendor Grosvenor, who was an art historian for Fake or Fortune, posted a picture of a waving hand obstructing his iPhone’s view of a Rembrandt painting, and wrote: “I’d love to be able to show you how excellent the new @NatGalleriesSco Rembrandt exhibition is. But at the merest hint of my iPhone, an assistant rushed over to say no photos allowed, and demand that I delete the photo I’d taken (of his hand).”He told The Telegraph that the rules are in place for licensing reasons, so galleries can sell more merchandise.The art writer explained: “What museums do is they try and raise the revenue by selling image licenses by reproducing their photos. If ordinary punters take photos then they think that stops their ability to do that. But someone taking a picture on their iPhone isn’t going to start making up tea-towels.”–– ADVERTISEMENT ––Dr Grosvenor argued that museums could be shooting themselves in the foot with this rule, because social media posts of paintings can drum up excitement for an exhibition. He said the ban is “all about copyright and museum revenue and income,” explaining: “The copyright issue is essentially about the work of living artists but not an issue for Rembrandt. Dr Grosvenor and I thought Rembrandt would love it, he would see it as a great commercial marketing initiative.”Dr Schama said he often is “followed around” galleries by guards when he comes to the UK because he takes photographs.He said being told off for taking pictures is “quite aggravating and not doing that makes for a much happier gallery experience.” He explained: “Of course, if you think about it, every person in that exhibition these days is a little advertising agent for that exhibition, I just wanted to tweet a little photograph from inside the exhibition and show how excellent the exhibition was, so people would go. If they don’t want me to do that then that’s their loss. “I was in the National Gallery the other day and the only noise you could hear was the poor guard moving around saying ‘No photos! No photos!’’. Museums and galleries are often the slowest to move with the times.”Civilisations presenter Dr Simon Schama agreed, and said photographs should only be banned in the case of “obnoxious selfie sticks” which block the view.Dr Schama told The Telegraph: “There are some obnoxious things that I don’t think should be there like selfie sticks or taking selfies in front of paintings. I wouldn’t mind banning that. But for people to take photos of details of the works of art, I honestly can’t see what the problem is at all.” Rembrandt no longer bothered by this, or so I heard https://t.co/iqPn7FLaSD— Simon Schama (@simon_schama) July 17, 2018 “They can be fantastic research tools if you want to see how the paint lies on the painting. I do that all the time. Then you have a photo archive to work with. You can see it in much more detail than on an online picture.”A spokesperson for the National Galleries of Scotland told The Telegraph: “Visitors to the National Galleries of Scotland are welcome to take photographs or video for personal, non-commercial use. All other uses require prior permission from National Galleries of Scotland.“Photography is usually not permitted in special exhibitions which include works that do not belong to NGS. This is primarily because many lenders (private and public) understandably require us to restrict or ban photography of the works that they have entrusted to our care. Photography within the permanent collection may also be restricted for some loaned works of art, as indicated by a ‘Please do not photograph’ notice on wall labels of certain works.” The historian added: “You can, providing you’re not obnoxious and get in the way, you can take photos of tiny details of brushwork that you wouldn’t get on a postcard. Dr Simon Schama said he frequently takes photographs at galleries for his workCredit:Jay Williams The irony is that the painting I wanted to tell you about belongs to the @rijksmuseum, who are delighted for anyone to take photos of their objects and share them.— Dr Bendor Grosvenor (@arthistorynews) July 17, 2018 Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.