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Export Of Works Of Art

Volume 448: debated on Tuesday 14 February 1984

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

asked Her Majesty's Government:Why, arising from the answer of the noble Lord, the Minister of the Arts, to a Question for Written Answer (

Hansard 26th January 1984, cols. 441–444), where "the ultimate destination of a work of art for which an export licence has been refused" is a "publicly funded institution in the United Kingdom" or a "public collection", such destination and the price paid "are … regarded as commercial in confidence, divulged only with the applicants' permission"; and, if the question was misunderstood, whether it can now be answered.

The Minister of State, Privy Council Office, and Minister for the Arts
(The Earl of Gowrie)

Information was given in response to the noble and learned Lord's previous Question in terms of the country of ultimate destination for items for which export licences were withheld. This and other information about such applications is regarded as commercial in confidence and only disclosed with the applicant's permission. Where such items were subsequently purchased by public collections in the United Kingdom, the price specified by the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art was as follows:

Public collections which acquired items under export stopPrice stipulated by the Reviewing Committee in each
1981Metropolitan Borough of Wigan36,650
British Museum (2 items)34,993.27
1982Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge750,000
National Heritage Memorial Fund38,500
Victoria & Albert Museum (2 items)$60,000
(Sterling equivalent £968)
Staffordshire County Museum1,672.50
1983National Gallery50,000
Hampshire County Museums11,000
Birmingham City Museum and Art Gallery11,500
National Railway Museum28,000
British Museum (3 items)47,000
Victoria & Albert Museum (3 items)9,804
HM Armouries (2 items)23,304
Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts13,380
Aberdeen Art Gallery24,725
*The owner did not give permission for the specified price to be made known.
The sum ultimately paid by the institution may sometimes vary for reasons of tax and adjustments during the sale negotiations. The final prices paid by public collections are not held centrally.