News story

Culture Minister defers export of a pair of exceptional Italian baroque console tables

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey has placed a temporary export bar on a pair of Italian console tables. 

This will provide a last chance to raise the money to keep the tables in the United Kingdom. 

The Minister’s ruling follows a recommendation by the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest, administered by Arts Council England. The Committee recommended that the export decision be deferred on the grounds that the tables were of outstanding aesthetic importance and of outstanding significance for the study of 17th Century furniture and the history of taste and collecting in 19th Century Britain. The Committee awarded a starred rating to the tables meaning that every possible effort should be made to raise enough money to keep them in the country.

This pair of grand sculptural tables appears to have been made to celebrate the Venetian conquest of the Morea, or Greek Peloponnese, between 1685 and 1688. The pictorial marquetry tops are by Lucio de Lucci (fl. 1680-1700) and are made of different European and exotic hardwoods embellished with stained horn, ivory and pewter. The boxwood bases are attributed to the famous wood carver Andrea Brustolon (1662-1732), described by Balzac as the “Michelangelo of wood”. It is possible that they were made for the commander of the Venetian forces, Doge Francesco Morosini. They form part of a group of six tables by Lucio and Antonio de Lucci depicting events in the re-conquest of Eastern European territory from the Turkish Empire. This pair of tables is thought to have been acquired by the 5th Duke of Buccleuch during the 1830s and was sold by the 8th Duke in 1971.

Lord Inglewood, Chairman of the Reviewing Committee, said: “These magnificent tables are exceptional examples of 17th Century Italian baroque furniture, something that is under-represented in this country. They are undoubtedly of great interest to the history of taste and collecting in 19th Century Britain.”

The decision on the export licence application for the tables will be deferred for a period ending on 3 January 2012 inclusive. This period may be extended until 3 May 2012 inclusive if a serious intention to raise funds with a view to making an offer to purchase the tables at the recommended price of £735,900 (inclusive of VAT) is expressed.

Anyone interested in making an offer to purchase the tables should contact the owner’s agent through:
 
The Secretary
The Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest
Arts Council England
14 Great Peter Street
London
SW1P 3NQ

Tel: 020 7973 5259

Anyone interested in making a matching offer who requires further information from the Champion about the tables should contact The Secretary to the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest at the above address.

Notes to Editors

  1. 1. For all media enquiries please contact Emma Russell, Media Relations Officer, Arts Council England  on 020 7973 6890, email: emma.russell@artscouncil.org.uk

  2. For enquiries on the operation of and casework arising from the work of the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest (RCEWA) please contact Peter Rowlands, RCEWA Secretary, on 020 7973 5259, email peter.rowlands@artscouncil.org.uk.

  3. The Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest is an independent body, serviced by Arts Council England, which advises the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport on whether a cultural object, intended for export, is of national importance under specified criteria. Where the Committee finds that an object meets one or more of the criteria, it will normally recommend that the decision on the export licence application should be deferred for a specified period. An offer may then be made from within the United Kingdom at or above the recommended fair market price.

  4. The details of the object are:

* A pair of Italian ivory, stained horn and pewter-inlaid ebony, rosewood, walnut, fruitwood and marquetry console tables 
* the tops signed by Lucio de Lucci (fl. 1680-1700), the bases attributed to Andrea Brustolon (1662-1732) 
* 90cm high 
* 171.5cm wide 
* 87cm deep  
  1. Further details about the tables can be found in the Sotheby’s auction catalogue.

  2. Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries - from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2011 and 2015, we will invest £1.4 billion of public money from government and an estimated £0.85 billion from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.

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