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Spoliation Advisory Panel rules on return of three Meissen figures lost during Nazi era

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

Panel rules three porcelain figures currently at V&A museum should be returned to claimants

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The Spoliation Advisory Panel has published a report on a claim against the Victoria and Albert Museum for the return of three Meissen figures. After careful consideration the Panel’s opinion is that the claim is sufficiently strong, and the V&A should offer to return the figures in accordance with the provisions of the Holocaust (Return of Cultural Objects) Act 2009.

The Meissen figures were once the property of the art collector, Emma Budge. The Panel found that following the death of Mrs Budge in 1937, her art collection was sold by the Aryanised Jewish auction house of Paul Graupe and her family was deprived of the proceeds of the sale.

The Panel’s recommendation is that the Victoria and Albert Museum should offer to return the figures to the Estate of Mrs Budge, given the circumstances of their loss. However, given that Mrs Budge expressed a wish that, following her death, some or all of her art collection should go to museums in Germany or abroad, the Panel has invited the Executor of the Estate to consider whether it would be appropriate for one of the Meissen figures to remain in the possession of the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said:

We should all be incredibly grateful that these Meissen figures have benefited from the highest possible standards of care during their time at the V&A. I am very grateful to the V&A for their co-operation with the Panel and hope this claim can now be resolved.

The Spoliation Advisory Panel was designated by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport as the Advisory Panel for the purposes of considering the claim under Section 3(2) of the Holocaust (Return of Cultural Objects) Act 2009. The Panel was established in 2000.

Published 10 June 2014