UK art exports hit five-year high as investors opt for trophy assets

THE value of art exported from the UK has risen to £10.5bn, its highest level in five years, as wealthy buyers increasingly choose to invest.

The surge cements London’s status as the leading marketplace for art, according to a report today from Thomson Reuters.

Figures show the total value of artworks and cultural items leaving the UK rose by seven per cent to £10.5bn in the 2012-2013 financial year, up from £9.8bn a year earlier.

This was despite a dip in the value of art exported from the UK under its export licensing system from £1.97bn in 2011-2012 to £1.67bn last year. Art that may be culturally significant to the UK because it has been here more than 50 years has to go through a review process before it can be exported.

Just £11.2m worth of art was refused an export licence in 2013 – including the famous Kongouro painting by George Stubbs and a ring once owned by Jane Austen that singer Kelly Clarkson wanted to buy.