UK Museums Now Protected From Court-Ordered Seizure For Loaned Artworks 


UK Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright has vowed to protect objects on loan from abroad in temporary exhibitions in UK museums from seizure by the UK courts. Works of art on display in a museum or gallery where the museum has published information about the objects on loan is now covered. This does, however, raise questions about restituted works of art from the Nazi Era.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport has offered this protection for international loans resulting from some cases where the ownership of art can be disputed. Many other countries will not lend to the UK without this protection.

This guide explains the application process and conditions which must be met by participating institutions. It also includes a list of museums and galleries which have already received approval.

Protected artworks constitute an object is only protected if it is:

• usually kept outside the UK
• not owned by a person resident in the UK
• not in contravention of a prohibition or restriction on import
• brought into the UK for temporary public display by an approved museum or gallery
• publicised for exhibit in line with the regulations

How do museums and galleries obtain approval? The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport approves applications for approval from museums and galleries in England. Northern Irish, Welsh and Scottish ministers approve applications from their countries’ institutions.

To get approval, a museum or gallery must demonstrate that it follows the due diligence guidelines on collecting and borrowing cultural objects.

Museums and galleries in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should contact their appropriate approving authorities.

Once a museum has received approval
Approved museums do not have to re-apply for each exhibition or item that needs to be protected. But they must make sure that the conditions for protection are met each time.

Approval can be withdrawn from an institution if it has:

• inadequate procedures for establishing an item’s place of origin or ownership

• failed to comply with a requirement of the Protection of Cultural Objects on Loan (Publication and Provision of Information) Regulations 2008 on the publication of information about the objects to be borrowed.

Publication requirements. The borrowing institution must publish detailed information on its website about the objects for which protection has been sought :

• before arrival, at least 4 weeks before the day on which the object enters the UK

• after arrival, the day after the initial 4 week period ends and for at least 12 weeks or for the duration of the exhibition, whichever is longer

Approved museums
The Ashmolean Museum • The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham • Barbican Art Gallery • The British Library • The British Museum • Compton Verney • Dulwich Picture Gallery • Gallery for Russian Arts and Design GRAD • Historic Royal Palaces • Houghton Hall • Leighton House Museum • Manchester Museum, the University of Manchester • Manchester City Galleries • National Museums Liverpool • Norfolk Museums Service • The Courtauld Gallery • The Fitzwilliam Museum • The Hayward Gallery • The Henry Moore Foundation • The Hunterian University of Glasgow • Ikon Gallery • The National Gallery • The National Maritime Museum • The National Portrait Gallery • The Natural History Museum • The Royal Academy • The Royal Armouries • Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts • The Science Museum • Tate • The Victoria and Albert Museum • Waddesdon Manor • The Whitechapel Gallery • Wolverhampton Arts and Museums

Top Photo: P C Robinson © Artlyst 2019

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