Three items have been acquired by UK owners following export blocks by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
The report, published in December 2022, covers May 1, 2021 to April 30, 2022.
A collection of drawings and watercolours by ornithologist John Gould (Gould’s Original Drawings, Vol I and II) have been acquired by the Natural History Museum for £1.28m. The University of Edinburgh was successful in acquiring a 17th-century manuscript of Italian and French lute music for £214,200 and the Ulster Museum bought The Nativity by Baldassare Tommaso Peruzzi for £277,990.
Three more items have been deferred: Confirmation by Nicolas Poussin; Sir Joshua Reynolds’ portrait of Omai (expected to go to the National Portrait Gallery) and a portrait depicting both a black and white woman is expected to go to Compton Verney.
The Allegorical painting was sold at Trevanion Auctioneers in June 2021 (ATG issue 2499). The English School double portrait, c.1650, sold for a hammer price of £220,000 and depicted the two women as social equals in fashionable dress with decorative patches to their faces.
It was temporarily barred from export in 2021 in the hope a UK institution could raise the funds.
Currently Compton Verney is in the process of securing the £272,800 (sale price plus fees and VAT) to buy the portrait.
Sir Hayden Phillips, the outgoing chairman of the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest, said the new legally binding Option Agreement mechanism, which came into effect in January 2021, was working well and allowing institutions a chance to raise funds.
Nine artworks that were not saved in the period were:
Aristotle and Homer marble busts attributed to Giuliano Finelli;
a portrait of the 14th Earl of Dalhousie by John Singer Sargent;
a tiger’s head finial from the throne of Tipu Sultan (ATG 2519);
an early Charles II ebony longcase clock (ATG 2523);
a portrait of the future William IV by Benjamin West (ATG 2524);
a Banquet Still Life by Jan Davidsz de Heem;
a pair of group portraits of Mr and Mrs Joseph May and their Children (1780) by Angelica Kauffman (ATG 2537);
Ferme normande, été (Hattenville) (1882) by Paul Cezanne;
A View of Verona with the Ponte delle Navi by Bernardo Bellotto.
The UK Government has the power to stop cultural objects from being exported following the establishment of the Waverly Report which assesses items based on three criteria: history, aesthetics and scholarship (and set up the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest).
Any item considered too important to leave the UK can be placed under temporary export deferral which gives a final opportunity for institutions in the UK the chance to raise the money.