DCMS consults on strengthening export deferral rules 9 Jan 2019

DCMS is consulting on plans to strengthen the export deferral rules for cultural objects of significant national interest, transforming parts of the process from ‘gentleman’s agreement’ to a legally binding process. Currently when an object is sold to a buyer abroad but then receives an export bar, cultural organisations have several months to fundraise to buy the artefact at the same price at which it was sold. The seller informally agrees to accept the fundraised sum. However, this process can go wrong: from December 2015 onwards the Art Fund was involved in helping to raise £30m to acquire Jacopo Pontormo’s ‘Young Man in a Red Cap’, only for the seller to reject the offer. At the time Art Fund Director Stephen Deuchar was vocal about the need for Government to tighten rules so ‘imprecise and difficult to enforce’. Arts Minister Michael Ellis said that the proposed new plans would “protect museums that fundraise in good faith and help to keep national treasures in the UK where they can be seen and enjoyed by the public.” The consultation runs to 24th February. Gov.uk (press release), Gov.uk (consultation), Museums Journal (Feb 2017) 

Also: Salvador Dalí’s ‘Lobster Telephone’ has been saved from export and acquired by the National Galleries of Scotland with support from the Art Fund. The white lobster and phone is among 11 made for art patron Edward James when he gave his homes a Surrealist makeover in the 1930s. Art Fund