CARDIFF, Wales — UK Culture Minister Ed Vaizey put an export ban on a 19th century ceramic vase designed by famed architect William Burges in order to stop the vase from leaving the country.
The vase, which was designed for Cardiff Castle, was at risk of leaving the UK unless a more local buyer could be found to match the £225,000 ($291,394.12) price tag. The vase is one of just four like it and it’s the only one that is still owned privately. The other three are in museums. The export license will come up again in September.
William Burges was an English architect and designer who was a part of the Gothic Revival movement. He started construction on Cardiff Castle in 1866, one of his buildings that eschewed the industrial age in favor of an idealized romantic past. The set of colorful vases have lovebird designs and were made in 1874 for the castle’s summer smoking room in the clock tower.
(Culture Minister) Vaizey said: “This vase is not only a rare example of William Burges’ ceramic design, it is the last piece of this stunning quartet. I hope that we are able to keep this vase – and thus the whole set – in the UK for the public to enjoy for years to come.”
The decision to impose the bar follows a recommendation by the reviewing committee on the export of works of art and objects of cultural interest, which said the vase was closely connected with the UK’s history and was of outstanding aesthetic importance and significance for the study of Burges.
The committee’s chairman, Sir Hayden Phillips, said: “This beautiful vase is the fourth in a suite of four. Just over a year ago the committee recommended that the third vase should not be allowed to be exported if it could be purchased to allow it to remain in this country. That was achieved and it is now in the National Museum of Wales.
The vase is just one of several important artworks that are leaving the UK as museums and galleries struggle to raise enough money to keep them in their native country. With recent economic news coming out of Britain, we wonder whether this trend will continue.