A rare Meissen figure once owned by a prominent Jewish art collector is at risk of being sold abroad unless a buyer is found to match the £270,000 price tag.
A temporary export ban has been placed on the Commedia dell’arte figure, one of an extremely rare group portraying characters from the Italian theatre, for which the factory at Meissen became famous.
Arts Council England recommended the ban based on the figure’s aesthetic importance and significance to the study of Meissen porcelain.
The Böttger stoneware figure was once owned by Jewish art enthusiast Emma Budge, whose collection was sold at the Graupe Auction House in Berlin, following her death in 1937.
The Nazis replaced the executors of her will with their own and the proceeds from the sale were paid into a blocked account.
Emma’s heirs never received any of the money. The figure was eventually acquired by a prominent member of the Jewish community, who escaped Nazi Germany in April 1938.
Meissen is renowned across Europe as being the first true hard-paste porcelain factory in 18th Century Europe.
Imported from China and Japan, the rare, fragile and translucent porcelain was a source of wonder to kings, princes and aristocrats across Europe, with many attempting to replicate these efforts.
The temporary export ban will last until 1 October, although it may be extended to January 2018 if a serious buyer is found.