Historic Items Worth £2.7 Million Saved Following Export Deferral

Twenty items valued at £2.7 million, including Lewis Carroll's prints and glass negatives of Alice Liddell, a 17th century masterpiece by Barocci, and a pair of carved stone sphinxes, were kept in the country following export deferral during 2001-02.  All will now become available for the public to enjoy, some for the first time.

During the year, following recommendations from the Committee, temporary bars were placed on the export of 34 objects, including paintings, drawings, photographs, sculptures, furniture and manuscripts of outstanding significance.

Details of each case are contained in the annual report, published today, of the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art.

Arts Minister Baroness Blackstone said:

"It is a credit to the export deferral system that such important items have been saved for the nation.  Everyone agrees that the system is both fair and recognised as such and I congratulate the Chairman Sir John Guinness and members of the Committee for their work.

"The objects cover a whole range of cultural artefacts from Medieval documents to nineteenth-century photographs.  In some cases, items have been returned to their original locations, but all will be publicly accessible, providing people now and in the future with the opportunity to enjoy them."

The 20 items saved have been acquired by museums, galleries and libraries in the United Kingdom.  They include:

  • two Late Bronze Age gold hair rings, c.1100-750 BC, purchased by the Ashmolean Museum (£4,700);
  • a fifteenth-century Middle English physician's handbook, lavishly decorated, with astrological and calendar tables and diagrams, diagnostic illustrations and miniatures, purchased by the Wellcome Trust (£210,000); 
  • Study for the Institution of the Eucharist, a modello by Federico Barocci (1528/35-1612) related to his last great altarpiece, commissioned in 1603 by Pope Clement VIII for his family chapel in Santa Maria sopra Minerva, Rome, purchased by the Fitzwilliam Museum (£945,000);
  • a pair of George II walnut upholstered side chairs by William Hallett, made in 1735 for Arthur, 6th Viscount Irwin.  The chairs were at Temple Newsam House in Leeds from 1736-1922, and have been purchased to return there (£70,050);
  • the Kelso archive, comprising records from Smith and Robson, a leading firm of notaries.  The documents of c.1750-1850 are a source of every important aspect of the economic and social life of the district (£59,010);
  • a bronze and ormolu hanging light by James Deville (1776-1846), originally from Gawthorpe Hall in Lancashire and purchased by the National Trust to be reinstated there as the central feature of a recently restored interior design (£110,568.75);
  • a pair of George III carved stone sphinxes, acquired in 1795 by Matthew Boulton, a major figure in the Industrial Revolution, for Soho House in Birmingham.  Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery purchased the sphinxes  to return them to their home (£285,485.25);
  • a watercolour, Near Beddgelert (A Grand View of Snowdon), by Thomas Girtin, c.1799, which hung at Harewood House from 1799-1858, purchased by the National Museums and Galleries of Wales (£300,000);
  • the archive of Walter Crane (1845-1915), a pivotal figure in British art and design, containing material spanning his entire career, purchased by the Whitworth Art Gallery and John Rylands Library of the University of Manchester (£376,475);
  • 11 prints and glass negatives given by Charles Dodgson ('Lewis Carroll') to Alice Liddell, the inspiration for the 'Alice in Wonderland' stories.  The images show Alice and her brother and sisters, and were purchased by the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television and the National Portrait Gallery (£345,311.88);

The Reviewing Committee is pleased to note significant grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund/National Heritage Memorial Fund and the National Art Collections Fund, which made most of these purchases possible.  Generous support was also received from the Resource/Victoria and Albert Museum Purchase Grant Fund, the Friends of the National Libraries, the Fund for the Preservation of Industrial Scientific Material (PRISM), the Friends of Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, Leeds Art Collections Fund, the National Fund for Acquisitions and the Kelso Common Good Fund.

The Reviewing Committee, who provide independent advice to the Minister of State for the Arts on the pre-eminence of cultural and historic objects seeking export licences, also make a number of recommendations to Government and other public bodies.

Notes to Editors

Media copies of the report - Export of Works of Art 2001-02: Forty-eighth Report of the Reviewing Committee (ISBN) - are available from the Press Office at the number below.  The Report is also published on the Internet at http://www.culture.gov.uk/

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