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Historic loan could allow Bayeux Tapestry to travel to UK

Plus: Leeds to host ‘Year of Culture’ celebrations despite exclusion from European programme | Aquitaine town demands restitution of bust from the Met | and Joseph Seipel named interim director of Richmond’s Institute for Contemporary Art

17 January 2018

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Bayeux Tapestry to travel to UK | The Bayeux Tapestry could be displayed in Britain thanks to an historic loan that would see it leave France for the first time in 950 years, reports the Times (£). In a meeting with Theresa May tomorrow (Thursday), President Macron is expected to make a formal announcement of the agreement, the preparations for which have already been confirmed by officials at Normandy’s Bayeux Museum. The tapestry, which depicts the events of the Norman conquest of England, has not been restored since 1985, and is currently undergoing a programme of tests to determine whether it can be safely moved. Should the loan go ahead, it is still unconfirmed as to which British venue would exhibit the tapestry, though the British Museum has said that it would be ‘honoured and delighted’ to display it.

Leeds plans ‘Year of Culture’ celebrations to replace Europe participation | Leeds City Council leader Judith Blake has announced that the Yorkshire city intends to host its own ‘Year of Culture’ programme, following the European Commission’s ruling in November 2017 that UK cities are to be excluded from the 2023 European Capital of Culture competition, for which Leeds had submitted a bid. Speaking to BBC Radio Leeds, Blake said that the council is planning an open event at the end of the month to discuss the project, which may involve working together with the other bidding regions to develop the year-long programme.

Aquitaine town demands restitution of bust from the Met | The mayor of a small commune in Aquitaine, in south-west France, has written to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, requesting the return of an 11th-century reliquary bust of Saint Yrieix (also known as Saint Aredius). The bust is thought to have been sold by a parish priest in 1906, after which it was sold abroad – illegally, the commune claims. The reliquary then passed into the collection of J.P. Morgan, whose heirs bequeathed it to the Met. According to ArtNet, the New York institution has yet to respond. A spokesman for the commune told L’Express that should no agreement be reached, it ‘may bring a civil action’.

Joseph Seipel named interim director of Richmond’s Institute for Contemporary Art | Following the resignation of inaugural director Lisa Freiman last week from the Virginia Commonwealth University’s Institute for Contemporary Art, Joseph Seipel has been appointed interim leader. Seipel, who retired as dean of VCU’s School of Arts in 2016, was an early advocate of the ICA, which is scheduled to open in April.

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