Ed Vaizey, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, has placed a temporary export bar on a jewel-studded book which recently sold at auction for £8 million.
The book was once owned by a King of France and it was created in 1532, including paintings drawn by numerous illustrators. The bar will last until 11 October 2016 but can be extended if a serious bid is made to raise funding to secure the item.
Ed Vaizey said in a statement:
“This exceptional book provides us with a rare glimpse into the royal courts of 16th century Renaissance France and is of outstanding scholarly value. I hope that this unique book remains in the UK for the public to enjoy”.
The recommendation to place the export bar on the book was made by the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest. Peter Barber, one of the members of the committee, said:
“This magnificently illuminated and perfectly preserved manuscript prayer book, its gold cover glittering with precious stones,some of them engraved,is a unique survivor of the luxurious books combining Flemish, French and Italian elements that typified the Renaissance culture of the court of François Ier of France. Such splendidly bound manuscripts set the European standard and Henry VIII is recorded as owning very similar books. They are now only known through mentions in inventories. The British public now has the chance to keep this unique surviving example, a European masterpiece in miniature, in the United Kingdom and available for display and study by future generations”.