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Export Licences


Export licensing unit reopens with digital applications

01 June 2020

The Export Licensing Unit (ELU), which closed under the March lockdown, has reopened with a new temporary procedure.

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Export-blocked 18th century harpsichord bought by Gainsborough’s House museum

20 May 2020

A harpsichord that was sold at The Canterbury Auction Galleries in 2018 to a US buyer and later barred from export by the government has been saved for the nation by Gainsborough’s House museum.

BAMF working to tackle backlog over export licences

18 May 2020

The art market is lobbying for the reopening of the Export Licensing Unit (ELU) which closed in March.

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Exports: rising costs and licensing hitch highlight short-term challenges

11 May 2020

International exports are predicted to return to growth following the easing of the lockdown in the UK. However, current art and antiques exports have slowed to a trickle.

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Record-breaking Martin Brothers grinning crab saved for nation heads to Plymouth after export block

19 February 2020

A new museum in Plymouth has acquired a ‘colossal and extraordinary grotesque grinning crab’ by the Martin Brothers after fundraising to keep the sculpture in the UK.

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Shackleton expedition sledge and flag blocked from export

08 February 2020

A sledge and flag that were taken on Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1907-09 British Antarctic Expedition have been temporarily blocked from export in the hope of finding a UK buyer.

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UK buyer sought for £2.5m collection of botanical drawings blocked from export

21 January 2020

The UK government is seeking a buyer to pay £2.5m for a group of 18th century botanical drawings.

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Medieval guide for female hermits blocked from export in hope of finding UK buyer

16 January 2020

The UK government’s arts minister Helen Whately has placed an export bar on a 15th century Middle English manuscript in the hope of finding a buyer to keep it in the UK.

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British Museum buys 18th century Indian watercolour miniature to prevent its export overseas

07 January 2020

An 18th century watercolour miniature by one of India’s greatest painters has been saved for the nation by the British Museum.

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France blocks export of €19.5m Cimabue panel following sale to overseas buyer

03 January 2020

The French government has blocked the export of ‘The mocking of Christ’, a medieval panel by Cenni di Pepo (known as Cimabue) that sold in October for €19.5m plus premium at auction house Actéon.

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Government issues export bar for £8m Gainsborough landscape in hope of finding UK buyer

02 January 2020

The owner of a Thomas Gainsborough (1727-88) painting has been temporarily prevented from exporting the picture by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

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Export block for £3.5m Wright of Derby picture bought by Getty museum

17 October 2019

The government is hoping to find a buyer to pay £3.5m to keep an 18th century picture by Joseph Wright of Derby in the UK.

Bristol University to buy judge's copy of 'Lady Chatterley’s Lover' from famous obscenity trial

02 October 2019

Fundraising led by writers’ association English PEN has helped save for the nation the judge’s annotated copy of 'Lady Chatterley’s Lover'.

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Government increases number of ports for CITES-listed natural history specimens ahead of no-deal Brexit

19 September 2019

Defra has added Dover and the Eurotunnel to the list of ports that will accept the import and export of CITES-listed natural history specimens.

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Plea to keep £9.5m Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood painting in the UK

19 August 2019

A Sir John Everett Millais (1829-96) picture valued at £9.5m will be exported overseas unless funding can be raised to keep it in the UK.

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Monet’s Venetian Doge’s Palace painting blocked from leaving the UK

09 August 2019

Claude Monet’s ‘Le Palais Ducal’ has been temporarily blocked from export in the hope that a UK buyer can raise the £28.2m needed.

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Call for fundraising to keep £10m Turner painting in the UK

02 August 2019

A JMW Turner landscape valued at £10m will be exported overseas unless funding can be raised to keep it in the UK.

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Glyn Philpot painting of ballet dancer Nijinsky barred from export in hope of finding UK buyer

30 July 2019

A rare portrait of the dancer Vaslav Nijinsky has been temporarily stopped from export from the UK in the hope a museum can raise the funds to keep it in the country.

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Lost to the nation: Newbattle Abbey casket and John Singer Sargent painting are among latest treasures cleared for export

26 July 2019

The Newbattle Abbey Kunstkammer is the latest work of art to be granted an export licence this year, despite the arts minister’s attempts to retain them for the nation.

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Ministers block export of 18th century watercolour by “genius” landscape artist

29 June 2019

An 18th century watercolour by the artist who John Constable described as a genius has been barred from export in the hope a UK buyer can be found.