News story

Treasures worth £29 million saved for the nation

Four national treasures saved for display in UK museums in 2011/12: works by Edouard Manet, Benjamin Britten, John Nost the Elder, and 2 Italian tables.

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

The 4 works are highlighted in the 58th annual report of the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest, published today.

The 4 items which have been acquired by British institutions for the public to access and enjoy are:

Tax relief benefits

Lord Inglewood, Chairman of the Reviewing Committee, said:

“It is very encouraging that, thanks to tax relief, institutions had to raise just under £9.3 million in order to purchase items worth over £29 million. This shows the benefits that can arise from the workings of a tax system which encourages the retention of treasures like these in this country. I would encourage the Treasury to look sympathetically and constructively at how the nation in the future can benefit even more from such schemes.”

Objects of national importance

Many valuable cultural objects over 50 years of age require a licence for export out of the UK. Where the object has been in the UK for 50 years or more, the Reviewing Committee review these items against the three Waverley Criteria to assess whether the object is of national importance.

The Culture Secretary can then place a temporary export bar on item assessed as of national importance, giving institutions or individuals in the UK time to raise the necessary funds to purchase it. 

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said:

“It’s fantastic that these four treasures are now on permanent public display in the UK and I congratulate all those involved in the fundraising efforts to keep them in Britain.  The export licensing system is a valuable tool in preventing items like these from disappearing abroad and ensuring they will be enjoyed for generations to come.”

Further information

Published 18 December 2012