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Jane Austen ring and Bentley Blower two of four objects barred from export

  • Date: 2 August 2013
  • Area: National
Gold and turquoise ring in box

Jane Austen's ring saved for the nation.

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey has placed temporary export bars on four items deemed to be national treasures, in what is the last chance to save them for the nation. The objects include one of only three pieces of jewellery known to belong to author Jane Austen and Sir Henry Birkin's famous racing car, the 'Bentley Blower'.

Museums, along with any institution or private party, now have the opportunity to purchase the objects, preventing them from being exported from the UK. Minister Ed Vaizey took the decision to defer granting an export licence for the objects following a recommendation by the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest, which is administered by Arts Council England.

A gold and turquoise ring that once belonged to Jane Austen

This ring is one of only three pieces of jewellery known to have belonged to Jane Austen, an author who placed great significance on jewellery's link to personal relationships, both in her life and her novels.

The export license decision for this piece has been deferred until 30 September 2013 inclusive, with the possibility of extension until 30 December if a serious intention is declared to raise the recommended price of £152,450.

Sir Henry "Tim" Birkin's famous racing car the Bentley Blower

With a recommended price of £5,149,800, the Bentley Blower is a single-seater Bentley racing car that captured the hearts of the British public during the 1930s.

The car was originally designed, owned and raced by Sir Henry Birkin, one of the most popular figures in British racing who enjoyed a super-star status comparable to a modern-day Formula 1 driver. This export license decision will be deferred until 31 October 2013 with a possible extension until 31 May 2014

The archived letters of Major James Wolfe

This archive, known as one of the most comprehensive series of letters from any significant military figure, details the exploits of Major James Wolfe: a British Army officer remembered chiefly for his audacious victory over the French at the Battle of Quebec in Canada in 1759.

The recommended price of £900,000 for the letters needs to be raised by 30 September 2013with a possible extension until 30 January 2014.

A collection of paintings, drawings writings, charts, photographs and drawings by Thomas Baines

This collection documents the 19th century British Gregory Expedition of northern Australia. Between 1841 and the early 1860s Thomas Baines worked as artist to a succession of British expeditions, initially to Australia and later in Africa, where he accompanied David Livingstone.

The decision on the export licence application for the collection of works will be deferred until 31 October 2013 inclusive with a possible extension until 30 April 2014 if a serious intention to raise the recommended price of £4,200,000 is identified.

For more information on the purchase of these objects please contact our enquiries team.

Find out more about our work with cultural property and view other items currently under temporary export bar.