UK bars export of Queen Victoria’s ‘monumental portrait’ marble bust
The bust was commissioned by the Army & Navy Club to celebrate Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. A decision on the export licence application will be deferred until December 7world Updated: Sep 09, 2017 20:42 IST
The UK government has set a temporary export bar on the bust of Queen Victoria, valued at around 1.2 million pounds, to prevent it from leaving the country.
The government hopes to find a buyer for the white marble sculpture within Britain to preserve it for display at a UK institution.
“I would be delighted to see this unique piece on display in a UK institution, where the public can enjoy and admire it,” said John Glenn, the minister for Arts.
The bust was commissioned by the Army & Navy Club to celebrate Victoria’s Golden Jubilee and was created by Alfred Gilbert, best known for the famous Eros statue at Piccadilly Circus in London, between 1887 and 1889.
The UK’s department of culture, media and sport issued the export bar following a recommendation by the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest (RCEWA).
The RCEWA made its recommendation on the grounds of the sculpture’s outstanding significance to the study of Gilbert.
“This monumental portrait bust of the Queen-Empress is not only an important icon made at the apogee of British power but a complex and hugely sympathetic image. It is also a tour de force of marble carving, a medium which Gilbert rarely employed,” said RCEWA member Lowell Libson.
A decision on the export licence application will be deferred until December 7, which could be extended until April next year if a serious intention to raise funds to purchase it is made at the recommended price of 1.2 million pounds.
Arts minister John Glenn said offers from public bodies for less than the recommended price through the private treaty sale arrangements could be considered.