A group of artists and historians have called on the government to change its approach to painting, saying the artform is a “disastrous” blight on the country’s reputation.

The artists, led by Prof Thomas Kinkade, an associate professor of painting at Oxford University, have called for a review of the “painting monopoly” that has existed since 1894, when the Royal Society of Arts banned the practice.

The Royal Society has since allowed painting to continue in the UK and has not commented on the letter, but the art-world community is divided over whether the current government should abandon its decision to allow the practice to continue.

They argue that painting is a highly effective and diverse artform that provides a critical link between our world and the history of the world, and that a return to the Victorian period will help restore our reputation as a place where people can be themselves and be creative.

The group of more than 50 writers and artists, writers, directors and other writers, historians and artists is urging the government not to “cut its teeth on the art of the past”, saying that the current rules do not give artists the “freedom to do what they want”.

They said the government needs to make clear to the British public that “the painting monopoly is over and it’s time to bring the rules back”.

“It’s time for the Government to re-introduce the painting monopoly so that all British artists can have the same rights and freedoms as any other artists,” they wrote.

The writers and historians said that the painting industry is worth over £4bn a year, and it is one of the most important industries in the country.

The letter from the artists comes after a similar petition calling for the government’s “impressionism ban” was signed by more than 100 academics, writers and other artists in November last year.

They urged the government “to stop its obsession with the past” and instead “consider the art and art history of Britain and the UK’s contribution to the world”.

The petition was signed as the government announced a £100m investment in a new art museum to be opened by the late Sir John Chilcot, a former British ambassador to the United Nations.

Sir John said the £100 million “will bring together the finest art, architecture and architecture in the world in one place”.

“This is a big step forward, and a welcome addition to the National Gallery,” said a statement on the National Archives website.

The signatories of the petition included Sir John’s widow, Margaret, and the late Richard Norton, the British diplomat who was the first British ambassador in Washington, DC.

“The painting monopoly has failed,” they said in a statement.

“It is now time to return to our Victorian roots.”‘

This is art’The letter was signed on behalf of the group of writers and the artists by Professors James Kinkae, Dr Thomas Kinks, Paul O’Donnell and Paul Halsall.

It says: “It is time for us to start to work again.

It is time to be artists.

We need to bring our skills back into the public domain.

We can no longer tolerate this painting monopoly.”

The artists said the new museum would help to rekindle the industry and that it would provide “an invaluable place for the next generation of artists to hone their skills, and hopefully grow into something that will provide us with a lasting legacy”.

“As a result of the painting patronage that has grown up in the last century, it is the most diverse, innovative, and creative industry in the British art and culture industry,” the letter said.

The petition has attracted the support of the artists’ unions, and is expected to be signed by the arts minister, Jo Johnson, in the coming days.

However, Prof Kinkades letter has also attracted criticism from some in the art world.

Dr Ian Kershaw, director of the Centre for Art History at King’s College London, said he would “be delighted to see the letter rejected”.

“If we’re serious about our artistic heritage, we must not only remember the Victorian paintings and the British paintings and British art in general, but we must also make a conscious effort to get our art back in the public eye,” he said.

“I think the painting lobby will be more than happy to see that the government rejects the petition.

I think they’ll be more willing to see it reject it.””

I don’t think the government will have any problems with that, because it’s not a serious position,” he added.

The current painting monopoly was abolished in 2014 after the Royal Institution of Arts (RIA) agreed to the “impossible” restriction of the art form that has resulted in artists being able to paint anywhere in the globe without the need for permission from the government.

The painting industry has grown by almost 40 per cent since then, with the British Museum alone employing more than