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Art conference details announced

Export licensing and the global view of the art market are among the topics up for discussion at the next Art Business Conference.

Among the speakers at the September 4 event, held annually in London at Church House Conference Centre in Westminster, are Victoria and Albert Museum director Tristram Hunt and international art dealer Thaddaeus Ropac discussing the global outlook in the keynote panel.

Other subjects on the programme include Brexit, art finance, online sales, auctions and luxury.

Lanyon works go to museums in tax deal

The estate of Cornish artist Peter Lanyon’s (1918-64) widow, Sheila Lanyon, has agreed a tax deal allowing three pictures by the artist to be acquired by the nation for museums across the country.


Sketch for Birmingham University mural, gouache on paper, 1963, one of the three Peter Lanyon works given to the nation. Image copyright: Peter Lanyon Estate, with thanks to Gimpel Fils.

Through the Acceptance in Lieu (AIL) scheme, Tate, the University of Birmingham’s Research and Cultural Collections, and the Victoria Gallery & Museum, University of Liverpool, have acquired works.

Sheila died in 2015, and her estate has now agreed to settle a tax bill of £893,775.

The Arts Council, which administers the scheme, said the value exceeded the tax liability, but her estate waived some of the value of the three works.

Both the Tate and Victoria Gallery & Museum then contributed £72,000 and £8000 each from their own resources to complete the deal.

The Tate has acquired Clevedon Bandstand (1964), an abstract landscape painting executed in the last year of Lanyon’s life.

The other two pictures are studies for murals the artist painted at Liverpool and Birmingham universities.

Heritage award over copyright

Heritage Auctions has been awarded $1.76m in its long-running legal battle against Christie’s-owned Collectrium over breach of copyrighted content from its website.

Heritage claimed that Collectrium scraped HA.com’s auction listings, creating fictional user accounts and reproduced the unlawfully obtained content on its own website over a period of two years for commercial gain.

However, the partial final award by the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas was well below the $49m that Heritage originally sought as Judge James Ware dismissed some of Heritage’s claims relating to trespass, unfair competition and civil conspiracy.

Collectrium was founded in 2009 and bought by Christie’s for $16m in 2015.

Art dealer jailed in US court case

Art adviser Timothy Sammons has been sentenced to up to 12 years in prison. The Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus Vance, said Sammons used his profile to broker sales and obtain loans using paintings he did not own, “then betrayed that trust by pocketing the proceeds of those sales to fund his own lavish lifestyle”.

Pictures including Chagall’s Rêverie, Calanque de Canoubier (Pointe de Bamer) by Paul Signac and Picasso’s Buste de Femme were used to steal between $10m-30m from clients from the UK, US and New Zealand.

“When brokering the sales of high-priced, one-of-a-kind paintings, Timothy Sammons had lying, scamming, and stealing down to a fine art,” Vance said after the sentencing at New York State Supreme Court on July 30. Before sentencing, Sammons – a former head of Chinese art at Sotheby’s – said: “I have always said how extremely sorry I am for the trauma I caused.”

Cosway turns out to be Lawrence

The latest episode of the BBC programme Fake or Fortune? presented by dealer Philip Mould and Fiona Bruce revealed a lost work by Sir Thomas Lawrence.


Philip Mould and Fiona Bruce of 'Fake or Fortune?' with the painting found to be by Thomas Lawrence.

Previously thought to be the work of Maria Cosway, Mould and the team researched the picture that belonged to Hugh and Mirabel Cecil and discovered that the portrait of Hugh’s ancestor Peniston Lamb was by Lawrence and therefore valued at around £500,000, rather than the £8000 if it had been a Cosway.

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In Numbers


The target successfully reached to help save for the UK a portrait of Charles Dickens (1812-70) rediscovered by dealer Philip Mould. The watercolour on ivory by artist Margaret Gillies (1803-87) will now go on display at The Charles Dickens Museum in London from October 24. It was found in a tray of trinkets at a South African general auction in 2017.


A watercolour on ivory depicting Charles Dickens by Margaret Gillies.