Minister delays art exports

AN OIL sketch by Tiepolo priced at pounds 3.2m and a rare pastel drawing by Gainsborough are among works that could be saved for the nation, it was revealed yesterday.

Iain Sproat, the national heritage minister, said it was decided to defer granting export licences for four major works following advice from the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art.

The delay gives time for funds to be raised to keep the works in this country.

The works covered by the announcement are Tiepolo's oil sketch The Miraculous Translation of the Holy House of Loreto, a pastel portrait of Caroline, 4th Duchess of Marlborough, by Thomas Gainsborough, priced at pounds 236,919, a marble bust of Lady Harriet Pellew by Bertel Thorwaldsen, valued at pounds 170,404, and the painting, St Sebastian Succoured by Two Angels, by Giovanni Francesco Balbieri, called Guercino, priced at pounds 400,000.

All four works have already been sold at auction.