Pre-auction viewing at Christie’s last year of the Egyptian statue of Sekhemka
Museums in Britain have been warned not to sell off their acquisitions. Nick Clark, writing in The Independent, reports –
Publicly funded museums that seek to sell off “the family silver” will face tougher sanctions from the body that overseas the UK’s museums. The Museums Association (MA) is to tighten up its ethics code to avoid controversial sell-offs of valuable antiquities from cash-strapped museum collections. It is also in talks with the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), the Art Fund, and Arts Council England to establish a “joined-up response” to those selling important objects for financial gain. They are also investigating whether to launch an official list of at-risk collections.
The move follows Northampton Borough Council’s decision to sell its ancient Egyptian statue of Sekhemka for £15.8m in July. The sale prompted the MA to withdraw accredited status for Northampton Museums, one of its founder members 125 years ago. As a result the museums lost out on funding grants including £240,000 from the HLF.