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Lest anyone remains unconvinced that the conservation stance of the Government (and its yes-bodies) owes more to convenience than principle, Arts minister Rebecca Pow has placed a temporary export bar on Turner’s masterpiece, The Dark Rigi, the Lake of Lucerne (1842) saying:

“Turner is one of Britain’s greatest ever artists and The Dark Rigi is a beautiful and emotive work painted at the pinnacle of his career. This work is of national importance and if it were to go abroad it would be a terrible loss to the country.”

Perhaps. But it’s worth remembering that even if the Dark Rigi is lost to the nation millions will still be able to see the actual Rigi mountain….

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Not so at Stonehenge. Turner’s painting of its iconic landscape is safe for the nation in Tate Britain but the actual vista it depicts will soon be hidden from almost everyone save for a few English Heritage and National Trust rangers. Ms Pow and the Government are determined that travellers should see only this:

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That would be an even more “terrible loss to the country”, surely?

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