London’s Horniman Museum has agreed a deal with Nigeria’s National Commission for Museums and Monuments to transfer the ownership of 72 items in the museum that had been taken by British forces from Benin City in 1897.
Initially six objects have been returned and an agreement between the parties will allow the remainder to stay in the UK on loan for now, with a second phase of repatriations to follow in due course.
Nigeria plans to open the Edo Museum of West African Art in Benin City in 2026 to house the “largest collection of Benin Bronzes ever assembled”.
The Horniman Museum is the latest institution to agree to repatriate Benin objects. Glasgow Life (a group of Glasgow museums), University of Oxford and University of Cambridge have all announced plans or have agreed to restitute Benin objects.
Business conference runs during TEFAF
Art Business Conference has agreed an arrangement with The European Fine Art Foundation (TEFAF) to host an event during its Maastricht fair. It is scheduled to take place during the Collectors Preview on March 10 at Maastricht’s MECC venue.
The fair runs March 11-19, 2023, with March 9-10 by invitation only.
National Gallery revamp ready to go
The National Gallery has secured a resolution to grant planning permission from Westminster City Council for a series of adaptations to its buildings on Trafalgar Square.
To mark its bicentenary in 2024, the National Gallery plans a diverse programme of exhibitions and events across the UK under the banner NG200, as well as completing building projects across its central London galleries. Among the areas being renovated are the Sainsbury Wing and Pigott Education Centre.
The Sainsbury Wing alterations will allow queuing to be brought inside in a newly configured vestibule with new glass bringing more natural light into the main foyer and improving views out to Trafalgar Square.
However, the plans have met with criticism from some art critics and architects.
Horowitz back at Art Basel as boss
Noah Horowitz returns to Art Basel as chief executive officer, succeeding Marc Spiegler. Art Basel is owned by events group MCH Group, run by CEO Florian Faber.
Horowitz was Art Basel director of the Americas from 2015-21 when he left for Sotheby’s, taking on a newly created role of worldwide head of gallery and private dealer services. Prior to his time at Art Basel he was executive director of The Armory Show in New York for four years.
Spiegler will work with Horowitz until the end of the year and then will continue in an advisory capacity to Art Basel for the next six months.
Gasketeers call for help to shed light
The London Gasketeers, the group trying to preserve London’s historic gas lamps, has called on the art and antiques trade to help list at-risk examples.
Westminster City Council recently partially U-turned on its plans to convert gas lamps to LEDs and said it would retain 174 of the lamps. However, the future of a further 94 was unclear.
Now Westminster has told The London Gasketeers if some, or all, of these 94 achieve listed status then they too could be saved from electrification.
Dealers Tim Bryars and Luke Honey set up The London Gasketeers and are now calling on others in the trade to help.
Interested parties can help by finding old photos or postcards showing the lamps and assist in cataloguing the lamps to help the listing applications. The London Gasketeers will then collate the applications and submit them to Historic England.
Bryars said: “If any friendly ATG readers, who are experienced cataloguers, could get in touch and offer their services it would help tremendously.”
One of the dealers who has already worked with Bryars and Honey is Timothy Langston.
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The amount needed to be raised to keep a 14th century French gothic ivory casket or coffret in the UK. An export block has been issued by the UK government in the hope a UK institution can raise the funds to buy the casket that had been sold at Lyon & Turnbull on May 20, 2021, as reported in ATG No 2494.