News story

Turner masterpiece under threat of permanent export

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

Ed Vaizey places a temporary export bar on Modern Rome - Campo Vaccino.

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey has placed a temporary export bar on a highly significant Turner masterpiece.

Painted in 1839, Modern Rome - Campo Vaccino, was Turner’s culminating image of Rome, the last work to emerge from his long fascination with the city.

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 the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA).

“If one needed evidence of Turner’s greatness as an artist, this is it,” said Lord Inglewood, Chairman of the Reviewing Committee. “Modern Rome - Campo Vaccino is an astonishingly beautiful painting that underlines Turner’s thoughts and experiences of Rome, and in turn it has played a fundamental part in forming our perception of Turner and his work.”

“Whilst this country holds a good part of the artist’s oeuvre, there are very few of his paintings in this country of this quality and in such fine condition. In addition in a single painting it sums up Northern Europe’s centuries old attitude towards the Mediterranean and the Classical World and its seduction by them.”

The export bar will provide a last chance to raise the money to keep the painting in the United Kingdom.

The decision on the export licence application for the painting will be deferred for a period ending on 2 February 2011 inclusive. This period may be extended until 2 August 2011 inclusive if a serious intention to raise funds with a view to making an offer to purchase the painting at the recommended price of £29,721,250 [excluding VAT (£30,284,968.75 including VAT)] is expressed.

Offers from public bodies for less than the recommended price through the private treaty sale arrangements, where appropriate, may also be considered by the Culture Minister.

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