Government blocks sale of Jane Austen ring to Kelly Clarkson

The sale of a ring belonging to Jane Austen has been thwarted by culture minister Ed Vaizey. After US singer Kelly Clarkson won the piece at auction, she was forbidden from allowing it to leave the country.

Now the Jane Austen's House Museum has raised the sum Kelly Clarkson paid for the item, and the performer has now accepted the museum's offer to buy the ring.

Vaizey used export licensing rules which he states provide a "last chance" to block the trade of items such as the Austen ring.

The same system is being used to bar the export of the archived letters of Major James Wolfe.

The archive includes 232 letters from Wolfe to his parents, spanning the entirety of his military service; a volume of commissions documenting the careers of both James Wolfe and his father Edward Wolfe, 1702-1758; and correspondence and papers of Wolfe’s mother, Henrietta, regarding the settling of his estate and her claim for War Office pension, prior to her death in 1764.

Already this year the government has disrupted the sale of seven Jewish silks and peridot jewellery.