Entertainment & Arts

Manet work among £29m of treasures saved for the UK

Mara Talbot, Vicky Hirsh and Ashmolean director Dr Christopher Brown
Image caption 11 year-old Mara Talbot donated the last £30 of £7.83m raised to acquire Edouard Manet's painting

An Edouard Manet portrait is among four treasures which have been prevented from leaving the UK in the last year.

The items, worth a collective £29m, include a Benjamin Britten draft score, two Italian console tables and a sculpture by John Nost the Elder.

The public will now have access to the works, according to a new report.

They were bought for a combined £9.3m, after the secretary of state enforced an export ban giving museums and galleries more time to raise funds.

If an object is more than 50 years old and requires a licence for export out of the UK, the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest, managed by Arts Council England, can decide whether the object is of national importance.

Its latest report said between 1 May 2011 and 30 April 2012 eleven items were considered, seven of which were referred to the secretary of state..

Manet's portrait of Mademoiselle Claus, a major work in the development of impressionist art by the 19th Century French painter, is worth an estimated £28.4m but was purchased for £7.8m by the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford in April.

Following an eight-month campaign with more than 1000 public donations, 11 year-old Mara Talbot gave the last £30.

Image caption The portrait's subject is Fanny Claus, a close friend of Manet's wife, and was a study for one of his most famous paintings Le Balcon

Chairman of the Reviewing Committee, Lord Inglewood, said: "This shows the benefits that can arise from the workings of a tax system which encourages the retention of treasures like these in this country.

"I would encourage the Treasury to look sympathetically and constructively at how the nation in the future can benefit even more from such schemes."

More for less

The complete draft score of The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra by English composer and pianist Benjamin Britten was bought by the British Library for £201,660, almost £19,000 less than it cost originally.

The pair of Italian console tables were purchased by the Victoria and Albert Museum and National Museums Scotland for £367,950 each.

The V&A also raised funds to buy The Crouching Venus, a work by Flemish sculptor John Nost, for £485,000.

Alan Davey, chief executive of Arts Council England, said it is "wonderful" that these rare objects have been saved for the nation.

"That so many individuals made donations shows the value that people in this country place on art and culture," he said.

Culture minister Ed Vaizey added: "The export licensing system is a valuable tool in preventing items like these from disappearing abroad and ensuring they will be enjoyed for generations to come."

Funds could not be raised for paintings by French artist Antoine Watteau, Venetian painter Francesco Guardi and an early 19th Century Italian classical tripod.

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