The Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest was established in 1952, following the recommendations of the Waverley Committee in its Report in September of that year. Its terms of reference are:

  • to advise on the principles which should govern the control of export of objects of cultural interest under the Export Control Act 2002 and on the operation of the export control system generally
  • to advise the Secretary of State on all cases where refusal of an export licence for an object of cultural interest is suggested on grounds of national importance
  • to advise in cases where a special Exchequer grant is needed towards the purchase of an object that would otherwise be exported.

The Reviewing Committee is made up of eight permanent members who have expertise in one or more fields (paintings, decorative arts, manuscripts, archaeology etc) so that it can take an objective view of the 'Waverley' status of objects brought before it and provide policy advice to the Secretary of State for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

The three Waverley criteria

  • Is it so closely connected with our history and national life that its departure would be a misfortune?
  • Is it of outstanding aesthetic importance?
  • Is it of outstanding significance for the study of some particular branch of art, learning or history?

The Reviewing Committee is further advised on each case by three independent assessors who assess and vote on the Waverley status of the object in question. The assessors are experts in the relevant field - often the pre-eminent authority.

The Reviewing Committee meets monthly and publishes an Annual Report of its activities each year. It is guided by the Advisory Council on the Export of Works of Art which usually meets once a year. Details of the Advisory Council can be found in the Annual Report of the Reviewing Committee.

2014 Reviewing Committee Meeting Dates

  • 15 January
  • 12 February
  • 19 March
  • 16 April
  • 14 May
  • 11 June (Advisory Council)
  • 12 June
  • 16 July
  • 3 September
  • 7 October
  • 12 November
  • 10 December

2015 Reviewing Committee Meeting Dates

  • 7 January
  • 4 February
  • 4 March
  • 8 April
  • 13 May
  • 17 June (Advisory Council)
  • 18 June
  • 29 July
  • 9 September
  • 14 October
  • 18 November
  • 16 December

Annual reports of the Reviewing Committee

2012/13 Annual report
On 26 February 2014, the 2012/13 Annual report of the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest was published. Following recommendations by the Committee, temporary export bars were placed on 19 items of cultural significance which came before the Committee between 1 May 2012 and 30 April 2013. Of these, six items led to purchases and will remain in the United Kingdom.

2011/12 Annual report
On 18 December 2012, the 2011/12 Annual report of the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest was published. Following recommendations by the Committee, temporary export bars were placed on seven items of cultural significance which came before the Committee between 1 May 2011 and 30 April 2012. Of these, four items led to purchases and will remain in the United Kingdom.

2010/11 Annual report
On 13 December 2011, the 2010/11 Annual Report (PDF 3MB) of the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest was published. Following recommendations by the Committee, temporary export bars were placed on 14 items of cultural significance which came before the Committee between 1 May 2010 and 30 April 2011. Of these, four items led to purchases and will remain in the United Kingdom.

2009/10 Annual report
On 16 December 2010, the 2009-10 annual report (PDF 3MB) of the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest was published. Following recommendations by the Committee, temporary export bars were placed on 13 cases of cultural significance which came before the Committee between 1 May 2009 and 30 April 2010. Of these, six items led to purchases and will remain in the United Kingdom.