Thursday, 19 November 2015

Lack of Transparency in the International Art and Antiquities Trade

"Our recommendations are therefore aimed 
at encouraging real progress with what appear
to be moribund aspects of the Government’s approach 
and tackling the apparent gaps in any strategy there may be".

Rumoured to be a member of the Qatari Royal Family, the identity of the buyer of Sekhemka remains unknown, says Andy Brockman of 'The Pipeline':
In spite of the fact that the statue of Sekhemka was on public display in Northampton Museum for over one hundred years and was sold off in the most controversial of circumstances by the elected and publicly accountable Northampton Borough Council, the Department for Culture Media and Sport [DCMS] has ruled that there is no public interest in the public knowing who paid £15.76 million to buy the statue at Christie's in July 2014. A hammer price which was almost £10 million more than the auctioneers pre-sale estimate. The news comes as the result of a Freedom of Information Act [FOIA] request from the Northampton based Save Sekhemka Action Group [SSAG] who led the fight to keep the internationally important Old Kingdom statue on free display to the public and available to researchers. The rejection by the DCMS of any public interest in knowing the ultimate destination of what is an internationally important work of art and culture has once again highlighted the lack of regulation and transparency in the international art and antiquities trade. A situation which, critics in the archaeological and museum world argue, leaves the trade wide open to abuse by criminals wishing to monetise objects of dubious provenance or to launder dirty money.
Not that this would bother the British government which well over a decade ago (under Tony Blair) made assurances that it would be getting tough with the trade in illicit antiquities passing through the UK.... I do not think there s anyone out there that things it was even the slightest bit sincere when they said it (Palmer Report anyone?).

The Pipeline, 'No Public Interest in Public Knowing who Bought Sekhemka says DCMS' The Pipeline November 19th 2015.

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