Sekhemka statue sold at auction

Temporary export ban on Sekhemka statue

Nicola Sullivan , 01.04.2015
MA says finding funding to save Egyptian statue will be a challenge

The government has placed a temporary export ban on an Egyptian statue that was controversially sold to an overseas buyer by Northampton Borough Council.
Culture minister Ed Vaizey took the decision to defer granting an export licence for the Sekhemka statue, sold last year for £15.8m, following a recommendation from the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest, administered by Arts Council England.

In a statement the Department for Media Culture and Sport said the licence application for the statue will be deferred until 29 July, but this may be extended until 29 March 2016 if a “serious intention” is made to raise the funds to buy it.

But Alistair Brown, the policy officer at the Museums Association (MA), said securing enough funding to save the statue would be a challenge. “It is very difficult for public organisations to fundraise to buy something from another public organisation. It’s cross-subsidising,” he said. “Organisations like the Art Fund tend to fund purchases from private hands to be brought into public ownership, not to keep something that is already in public ownership.”

The export ban comes shortly after a UK-wide group of museum sector bodies released a joint statement saying they will seek not to work with museums whose governing bodies sell items from their collections in contravention of the MA's Code of Ethics and the Accreditation Standard.


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Peter Clayton
Treasurer, Antiquities Dealers Association.
01.04.2015, 16:32
There are more than enough Old Kingdom statues held in UK national and provincial museums with no need to "save" this highly priced example. The money would be better used to fund British finds and curatorial posts presently being dispensed with. Northampton's wish to use the money achieved to further and develop projects associated with the museum is to be lauded, not lambasted. Added to which, as far as I am aware, collecting Egyptian antiquities is not a feature in Northampton Museum's collecting policy, so therefore why was there all the unnecessary fuss in the first place?
Peter A. Clayton, FSA, Egyptologist