The catchily-titled 58th annual report of the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest is out now. It's really much more interesting than it sounds. Four works were acquired by British institutions after export licenses were deferred. The wonderful Manet of Madamoiselle Claus, above, was the best - a great acquisition for the Ashmolean, complementing a good collection of nineteenth century French art. A pair of tables was acquired jointly by the Victoria and Albert Museum and the National Museums of Scotland. The habit of museums buying art jointly is lamentable, ensuring certain and needless deterioration as they are ferried between them. In this case it's not clear if they will be kept as a pair, or if the museums will get one each.
It's a great shame that Watteau's La Surprise (below) 'got away'. It's true that there are lots of Watteaus in the UK, but most are in poor condition and few are as good as this one.