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Patrick van Maris van Dijk is leaving TEFAF.

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TEFAF president to step down in May

Patrick van Maris van Dijk is stepping down as president and CEO of TEFAF. He joined the organisation in 2015, leading the launch of its two fairs in New York and updating of the organisation’s Maastricht event (March 7-15).

Under his leadership the global vetting policy was revamped and the application process made more rigorous for returning exhibitors. He will depart at the end of May this year.

Looted Afghan sculpture returns

A limestone sculpture believed to have been stolen during the Afghan civil war (1992-94), when Kabul was besieged, surfaced at an auction house in the UK last year.

It was to be offered by TimeLine Auctions but was withdrawn when Art Loss Register (ALR) discovered it may have been a stolen object.

Chris Wren at TimeLine Auctions said: “Our policy is to pay ALR to check all items of ‘Western Asiatic’ and of other cultures. TimeLine’s policy has previously led to other items being recovered and returned to their rightful location.”

Following the discovery the British Museum verified it had been looted and with the help of the Metropolitan Police (Art and Antiques Unit) and ALR it will be returned to Afghanistan.

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The looted Afghan limestone sculpture now returning to a Kabul museum.

The carved limestone corner block was originally excavated by a French archaeological expedition in the 1950s at the site of Surkh Kotal in northern Afghanistan.

The National Museum of Afghanistan has agreed for the sculpture to go on public display at the British Museum prior to its return and display in Kabul.

UK buyer sought for botanical gems

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

The works comprise two volumes of The Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands by Mark Catesby (1683-1749) and a copy of A Commonplace Book by botanist and philanthropist Peter Collinson. They have been blocked from export in the hope a buyer will come forward to keep them in the UK.

The two first-edition Catesby volumes published in 1731 and 1743 were given to Collinson by the author in gratitude for his support.

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A painting of a snake from the Mark Catesby volumes temporarily barred from UK export.

The collection contains contain hand-coloured etched plates and an additional frontispiece with illustrations and watercolours by renowned botanical artists William Bartram and Georg Ehret.

The decision to temporarily block the export licence application was based on the grounds of the collection’s historical importance and outstanding significance for the study of the history of science and the natural world in 18th century Britain.

The decision will be deferred until April 16 and could be extended until August 16.

Latest saleroom appointments

Sotheby’s has appointed Cécile Bernard as its worldwide head of operations based in London. She previously worked alongside Mario Tavella, président-directeur general Sotheby’s France and chairman of Sotheby’s Europe.

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Cecile Bernard is now Sotheby’s worldwide head of operations. Image copyright: Sotheby's / ArtDigital Studio.

D’Ottavi at Bonhams

Bonhams has appointed former Christie’s specialist Eleonora D’Ottavi as head of jewellery in Italy.

Winter joins Ketterer

Lena Winter has joined Ketterer Kunst as head of Contemporary art. She previously worked in galleries and auction houses in Cologne and Berlin in the Contemporary art field.

Roseberys launches fresh sale format

South London auction house Roseberys has launched a new auction series called Traditional & Modern Home.

The sales will be held bi-monthly and will include Modern, Contemporary and studio ceramics, glass, lighting, sculpture, rugs, furniture and other collectables from the 20th century onward.

Most read

The most viewed stories for week January 16-22 on antiquestradegazette.com

1 Stolen Afghan sculpture to return home after being spotted at UK auction

2 Call for owners of art and antiques to take part in new BBC programme

3 Nazi-looted paintings by Pissarro and Signac that entered the Musée d’Orsay to be offered at Sotheby’s

4 Petersfield bookseller boosted by social media response after slump

5 Rare Edward VIII sovereign sets new British coin record at £1m

In Numbers

28.5%

The fall, according to data compiled by the Higher Education Student Statistics Agency, in the number of first-year university students with permanent residence in the UK studying art history between the 2008-09 academic year and that of 2018-19.

In the same period historical and philosophical studies, the larger category which includes history of art, fell by 17.6%.