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Among those gathered were the movers and shakers across the art world in general, from Sir Nicholas Serota of the Tate itself to the chiefs of the major international auction houses. Seated with them were ministers and shadow ministers, including the Lord Chancellor and the guest of honour, Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell, who answered BAMF President the Rt Hon Lord Brooke in a speech that congratulated the organisation, singling out its chairman Anthony Browne, for the achievements of the past five years.

It was Lord Brooke himself who highlighted the “astonishing collaboration” between the government and those lobbying on behalf of the art market through BAMF. Describing Anthony Browne’s leadership as often being akin to that of a “navigator, making his way around icebergs”, Lord Brooke noted BAMF’s singular success with the droit de suite initiative and called on those with influence, in and out of government, to “educate Europe that the deterioration of the British art market cannot help the European art market as a whole”.

The celebration comes only weeks after BAMF and its lobbying advisers were named as the winner in the Best Public Affairs Campaign category of trade magazine PR Week’s annual awards scheme for their campaign against droit de suite.
Reflecting on the achievements of BAMF so far, in an interview with the Antiques Trade Gazette in June, Mr Browne identified the major issues of the future as tackling the illicit art market, fiscal measures and restrictive regulations. Maintaining a strong voice was essential in the battle against red tape and the gagging of the art market, he concluded.