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Acquisition file

13 Dec 1963-27 June 1969


Acquisition file


13 Dec 1963-27 June 1969

Archive reference number



Correspondence from 1963 between Michael Levey and George Langley-Taylor, Embassy architect, concerning possible Tiepolo frescoes in the Egyptian Embassy. Langley-Taylor visits the Embassy and confirms that frescoes are to be found there, with four pictures around the walls and a fifth picture on the ceiling. It is this fifth picture that is suspected to be the Allegory with Venus and Time. Levey arranges to visit the Embassy in order to view the picture himself, accompanied by Langley-Taylor. Correspondence in 1965 between Philip Hendy and Sir Harvey Druitt (Treasury solicitor) discussing the legal status of the Tiepolo within the then re-named United Arab Republic Embassy. Druitt concludes that usual rules governing the export of exceptionally important works of art are not applicable in the case of this Tiepolo, because the United Arab Republic owns the freehold of the Embassy, which is not recognised as being part of the United Kingdom.

Letters from Hendy to Mohamed Hafez Ismail, U.A.R. ambassador, providing information on the Tiepolo pictures. Brief report on the condition of the ceiling Tiepolo and correspondence between the Gallery and Salah El-Din Hassan (Minister Plenipotentiary at the Embassy) concerning conservation of the picture, with press cuttings reporting the discovery and potential cleaning of the picture. The picture is eventually removed from the ceiling of the Embassy on 21 February 1968, and taken to the Gallery for conservation work, which is completed on 14 March 1968.

Letter from John Witt to El-Din Hassan (Minister Plenipotentiary) asking whether the Gallery could be contacted if the Embassy ever wanted to sell the Tiepolo. Correspondence between the Gallery, Foreign Office and Board of Trade discussing the Tiepolo being sold at auction by Christies, debate as to whether the work can be considered to be subject to export restrictions. Material connected with the application for a special grant to purchase the Tiepolo.

Record type


Paintings referenced in this record

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