Export of the 17th century baroque Italian Giacomo Herman cabinet – strangely undervalued at a nominal £3.3m – would be a cultural folly and a financial nonsense.
By coincidence, at the request of Lisbon’s museum, I reviewed their Edward East Anglo-Italian night clock, c.1675.
Appendix 3 [attached for the secretary of state] addresses 17th century Italian night-clocks generally, and also most rare cabinets containing night-clocks having Campani-type illuminated ‘wandering hours’.
Page 8 shows Herman’s cabinet with a rare night-clock by Giovanni Wenderlino Hessler, c.1675.
Page 9 compares it to the 18th century ‘Badminton Cabinet’ which has an ordinary clock but, like Herman’s cabinet, was also bought on a Grand Tour. In 1990 it was sold and exported for £8.7m, then in 2004 resold in New York for $36.6m.
Comparison has to favour the earlier high Baroque Herman cabinet now valued at a mere £3.3m.
It has to be saved for the nation.
I would recommend it be displayed at my cultural alma mater, The Bowes Museum at Barnard Castle.
St Leonard-on-Sea, East Sussex