Government extends Sekhemka export bar

Patrick Steel, 11.08.2015
Deadline is now 28 August
The government has extended its export bar on Sekhemka, the ancient Egyptian statue sold by Northampton Borough Council last year, until 28 August.

The initial bar ran out on 29 July but the deadline will be extended to "allow a final opportunity to keep the ancient statue of Sekhemka in the UK", the culture secretary, Ed Vaizey, announced this afternoon.

In a statement, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said: “We have decided to allow a final opportunity for a buyer to put forward a serious expression of interest to raise funds to keep the Sekhemka statue in the UK. The deadline has been extended to midday 28 August.

“This period may be extended until 29 March 2016 if a serious intention to raise funds to purchase the statue is made.”

Alistair Brown, the Museums Association’s (MA) policy officer, said: “The extension of the export bar is a welcome move and gives some hope that a buyer can be found to keep the statue in the UK.

“However, it still seems unlikely that any public body will want to be seen to reward Northampton Borough Council by being involved in the purchase of the statue.”

The statue was sold by Northampton Borough Council and Lord Northampton for £15.8m at auction last year, breaching the MA’s Code of Ethics, which led it to being barred from MA membership and losing its Accreditation with Arts Council England.

The council’s subsequent bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for £240,000 was turned down on the grounds that the fund was only open to museums with Accreditation.

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