From antique cabinets to Victorian dining chairs , Lancashire’s historic houses are hotbeds of culture and history. However, a new government report reveals that many treasures in Britain’s stately homes and museums are only there because of regulations controlling their export – while many more priceless cultural icons end up abroad.
The Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest, part of the DCMS (Department of Culture, Media and Sport) recently released its latest report on the Export Of Objects Of Cultural Interest, for the period 2010/2011. Now in its 57th year of publication, the report revealed the value of cultural items leaving the country peaked at almost £66m. It may surprise people in Lancashire that of the antique chests, fine porcelain and other treasures sold, just £3.7m worth were saved for the nation, after their export was blocked by the Committee. A substantially larger number of pieces (predominantly fine art works) referred to the Committee under the licensing process were later exported when British buyers failed to match foreign offers.
The process relied on the Waverley Criteria; three standards used to identify important artworks and antiques, and proof the Committee is totally committed to saving important cultural pieces for the nation. However, it has to respect owners’ expectations in a thriving international market. A £285,000 William IV antique cabinet rescued from export by the Beckford Tower Trust is one of just four such treasures on public display; many others have ended up abroad.
Remember – that Victorian mahogany partners desk in a Ribble Valley showroom may only be there because the antique dealer was prepared to bid heavily against buyers from outside the UK.
No comments yet.