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Don’t let this beautiful bird bowl fly the nest: Rare £92k Hans Coper bowl at risk of leaving UK

Ed Vaizey places temporary export bar on 1950's Hans Coper bowl

A rare bowl by one of the most celebrated ceramic artists of the 20th century is at risk of being exported from the UK unless a buyer can be found to match the asking price of £92,291.14.

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey has placed a temporary export bar on the bowl made by renowned ceramicist Hans Coper, to allow time for a UK buyer to come forward.

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said:

“It is important that we save this bowl for the UK in order to better understand the work of one of our greatest ceramic artists in a pivotal period of his artistic development. I hope that the temporary export bar that I have put in place will result in a UK buyer coming forward”.

The bowl, decorated with an abstract bird design, is among the most significant examples of his pioneering work left in the UK from the 1950s. Created in 1955, this bowl is considered to be one of his rarest pieces which focused on patterns and motifs. While examples of Coper’s work exist in UK public collections, they are mostly from the 1960s, which focused on sculpture-like surfaces.

The decision to defer an export licence follows a recommendation by the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest (RCEWA), administered by Arts Council England.

The RCEWA made their recommendation on the grounds that the piece is of outstanding significance for the study of Hans Coper and studio pottery in the mid-twentieth century.

RCEWA member Richard Calvocoressi said:

“Studio ceramics in postwar Britain was transformed out of all recognition by two emigres from Nazism: Lucie Rie and Hans Coper. This bowl by Coper is a rare and magical early piece that calls out to be retained and publicly displayed in this country.”

The decision on the export licence application will be deferred until the 4th March 2016. This may be extended until 4th July 2016 if a serious intention to raise funds to purchase the bowl is made at the recommended price of £92,291.14 (inclusive of VAT).

An image of the bowl can be downloaded here.