UK Loses Over £100 Million of Art

The British public can’t afford to hold on to some of their most precious artworks and cultural artifacts, according to a report in the Telegraph. Over the last two years, the UK has lost over £103 million (US$171 million) in artworks, rare books, and antiquities to foreign collections.

Most prominent among those losses was Picasso’s Child with Dove (1901), which was sold to the Qatari royal family by Wales’ Aberconway family at Christie’s in 2012 for £50 million (US$ 83 million). A sketch by Raphael, Head of a Young Apostle was sold at Sotheby’s for £29 million from the Duke of Devonshire’s collection.

Both were subject to temporary export bans by the UK government and campaigns to raise enough funds to keep the works in country that were ultimately unsuccessful. The sell-off is a symptom of the continued challenges faced by the landed aristocracy to maintain Britain’s aging estates.

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