Italian Baroque busts worth over £850,000 at risk of leaving UK

Italian Baroque busts worth over £850,000 at risk of leaving UK


A temporary export bar has been placed on two Italian Baroque marble busts of Aristotle and Homer, dating to the early 17th century.

Two 17th-century Italian Baroque busts of Aristotle and Homer worth over £850,000 and attributed to sculptor Giuliano Finelli are at risk of leaving the country unless a UK buyer can be found to save the pieces for the nation.

Finelli trained in the workshop of renowned sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini, the artist credited with creating the Baroque style of sculpture, with the busts demonstrating Finelli’s extraordinary understanding of his material. Examples of Finelli’s work outside Italy and Spain are rare and the superbly carved Bust of Francesco Bracciolini in the Victoria and Albert Museum is the only work by him in the UK.

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said, “These stunning marble busts are not only an exceptional example of Baroque style of sculpture, but also a fascinating insight into the art collection of the Earls of Derby.

“I sincerely hope a UK buyer can be found to enable further research and study into these rare and exquisite busts,” she added on September 21.

The busts come from the celebrated art collection of the Earls of Derby, which was largely amassed by James Stanley, 10th Earl of Derby between 1664 and 1736. While the painting collection is well documented, the smaller collection of sculptures is yet to be fully explored.

The loss of these rare busts would deny the opportunity for further study of their significance for Baroque sculpture and of the collection and its significance.

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Deirdre Tynan

Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.