The UK’s Department of Culture, Media and Sport has issued a report on the works of art that have received export licenses and the volume is declining year over year from £1.9bn for the year ending in April 2012 down to £1.7bn for the year ending in April 2013. These number include a wide range of cultural property but in art terms the numbers were:
Paintings, foreign £489m
Paintings, British, modern £463m
Drawings, prints, watercolours £187m
The Guardian covered the report:
Ed Vaizey, the culture secretary, personally intervened to try to prevent the sale of 19 of the most culturally important items, but was only able to save six of the cheapest for the nation.
Among those lost despite Vaizey’s efforts were Picasso’s Child with a Dove, which the Spanish artist painted when he was just 19 and is considered one of his most important works.
The painting, which had been in British hands since 1924 and was on loan to the National Gallery, was sold at auction at Christie’s for £50m to a Qatari collector. It was sold on behalf of the Aberconway family in Wales, who were bequeathed the painting in 1947 following the death of art collector Samuel Courtauld.
Raphael’s drawing Head of a Young Apostle, which the Renaissance draughtsman created in about 1519-21, was also issued with an export licence after no British buyer could match the £29m New York billionaire Leon Black offered for it at auction.