Artist sorry after sculpture mistaken for floating corpse

An artist who crafted a sculpture mistaken as a dead body floating in a Suffolk creek has apologised to the “poor person” who called the police to report it.

On Wednesday (9 August) fire services, coastguard and the police were telephoned by a member of the public who alerted them to the motionless figure of a man lying in Butley Creek near Orford. What could have been a grisly find was in fact a bronze sculpture created by artist Laurence Edwards called ‘A Thousand Tides’, which has been in the creek for over a year. Continue reading

London to host landmark conference on stolen art

Hundreds of experts from across the globe will descend on London in September for an international conference on Nazi-looted art.

‘70 Years and Counting: The final opportunity?’ will be the first European conference dedicated to the issue of spoliation in five years. Organised by the UK Government and the Spoliation Advisory Panel and sponsored by the Commission for Looted Art in Europe the conference will aim to bolster efforts to return stolen artworks to their original owners. It will look at strengthening partnerships and increasing cooperation to speed up the process of restitution. Continue reading

Goods Mortgages – an explosion in art-lending?

The Law Commission is currently consulting on its latest piece of draft legislation – the Goods Mortgages Bill. As the name suggests, the proposed legislation enables individuals to use goods they currently own as security for debts. It also regulates the relationship between borrowers, lenders and third parties who may acquire secured assets.

The Bill replaces the current law in this area (contained in the “Bills of Sale Acts”) which is antiquated and needlessly complex. Recently, this area of law has come under scrutiny thanks to the expanding “logbook loan” industry, which involves the making of low-value loans to individuals on the security of their cars. However, there are also examples of higher-value lending over other assets, including furniture, wine and classic cars. Continue reading

Banksy’s balloon girl chosen as the UK’s favourite artwork

Banksy’s ‘Girl with Balloon’ has floated to the top of a list of the UK’s favourite artworks.

Samsung polled some 2,000 Britons who were asked to select their most beloved artwork from a shortlist of 20 chosen by arts writers and editors. Banksy’s little girl holding a red, heart-shaped balloon fought off J.M.W. Turner’s ‘The Fighting Temeraire’ (1839) and John Constable’s ‘The Hay Wain’ (1821) for the coveted top spot. Continue reading

Art thieves lead Spanish police to stolen Francis Bacon paintings

Three artworks by Irish-born artist Francis Bacon from a collection worth over £22 million were recovered by Spanish police in Madrid last week.

The paintings were among five works by the acclaimed 20th century artist stolen in June 2015 from the home of Bacon’s friend, José Capelo. It is believed to have been the largest contemporary art heist in Spanish history. Continue reading

EU gets tough on trafficking in antiquities

The European Commission is planning to strengthen import regulations to tackle the scourge of illicit trafficking in stolen artefacts.

The proposed rules were laid out at a meeting of the Commission last Thursday (13 July). Part of the Commission’s action plan to strengthen the fight against terrorism financing, the new European Union framework bans the import of goods into the EU, which were illegally removed from their home countries. Under the old framework only goods from Iraq and Syria are subject to import prohibitions. Continue reading

Family triumph in the battle for Nazi-looted Pissarro

The family of a Jewish woman from whom the Nazis forcibly removed a multimillion pound Impressionist painting may yet see the return of the work after a US court ruled in their favour.

Lilly Cassirer’s great-grandchildren, David and Ava Cassirer, have fought for 16 years for the restitution of Camille Pissarro’s ‘Rue Saint-Honoré, Après-midi, Effet de Pluie’ (1897). On Monday (10 July), the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Pasadena, California revived the lawsuit against Madrid’s Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, which had been dismissed by a US District Court Judge in 2015. The District Court had ruled that the Museum owned the painting under Spanish law. Continue reading