A last ditch attempt by the UK to keep a rare jewel encrusted prayer book, once owned by King Francois I of France is being made possible by culture minister Ed Vaizey.
The Book of Hours which was made in 1532 is a beautiful example of a popular item which would have been owned only by the Highborn of the Renaissance period and would have probably been mainly completed by the “1520s hours workshop”, which produced manuscripts for royal and aristocratic patrons.
With a history of British ownership dating back to 1720 and previous owners including names such as Horace Walpole who deemed it one of his greatest treasures, the Book of Hours which was sold to an overseas buyer has been temporarily barred from export in order to allow British institutions the opportunity to raise the money paid for it, in order to keep the book in the United Kingdom.
With a gold enamelled cover which is studded with rubies, turquoise and tourmaline the book contains 20 parchment leaves that are painted with gorgeous illustrations and as such has been deemed of “exceptional splendour and of outstanding significance”.
There is also of course, the small fact of the book’s £8 million price tag which makes it one of the most expensive books to have been sold in the world ever.
The culture minister has deferred the export of the book until October, with the option of extending the deferment if it appears that any interested institution has a realistic chance of raising the required money and keep it in the UK.
Anyone got any spare change?