Rare decorative Japanese porcelain which once belonged to the family of Diana, Princess of Wales, has been temporarily barred from export to allow time for a fundraising campaign that may keep it in the UK.
Culture minister Ed Vaizey has halted the movement of the lacquered pieces that were sold last year by auction house Christie’s to an anonymous buyer for almost £110,000.
The three lidded jars and two trumpet vases from the late 17th century had been in Diana’s family for more than 250 years.
They were auctioned in July as part of a large sale of furniture, art and other Spencer family treasures which raised just over £21 million in total.
The minister acted following a recommendation by the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest.
Lord Inglewood, the committee’s chairman, said: “These are truly remarkable objects of huge aesthetic importance.
“They are of global importance and a key set in the study of manufacturing techniques, European taste and trade between Japan and Britain in the late 17th and early 18th centuries.”
Potential buyers have until April 1 to come forward but the deadline may be extended to allow funds to be collected.