Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Information

22 Art Antiquity & L. 118 (2017)


It may not be as widely appreciated as it should be that loans of art within the European Union (the EU) are not simply a fortuitous product of the fact that the EU has led to closer relationships, both economic and political, between its Member States. It could be said that they are integral to the cultural policy of the EU. Article 167 of the Lisbon Treaty states that: "The Union shall contribute to the flowering of the cultures of the Member States while respecting their national and regional diversity..." and that action shall be aimed at supporting, "non-commercial cultural exchanges". A commitment to the mobility of art within Europe is therefore expressly articulated as an important EU objective. The uncertainties inherent in Brexit and the enormous range of contingencies and difficulties likely to be encountered in the next two years, and probably well beyond, make it difficult to predict with any accuracy what the eventual impact will be of Brexit on art loans, and much else. What follows, therefore, is necessarily tentative. Perhaps the best that can be done at this stage is to consider what issues might arise although, even so, any list is likely to be incomplete and may also lead to anxiety about problems that may not in the end arise as acutely as is currently feared in some quarters.'


This is a revised version of a lecture presented at an event to mark the launch of the Art, Business and Law LL.M. hosted by Clyde & Co on 23 January 2017. I am grateful for the helpful observations made by those attending this event. The authoritative text on art loans is Norman Palmer, Art Loans (Kluwer, 1997). Although an art loan may well be a bailment of goods I have assumed throughout that art loans are likely to be governed by contractual considerations.


To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.