A lengthy tug of war between the J. Paul Getty Museum and a British arts institution has resulted in a win for England: The medieval Macclesfield Psalter, a rare illustrated manuscript of psalms that the Getty purchased last June for a reported $3.2 million, will remain in Britain.
The Macclesfield Psalter, discovered last year in the library at Shirburn Castle in Oxfordshire, has been secured for the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge after a high-profile campaign spearheaded by the National Art Collections Fund to keep the manuscript in Britain.
In September 2004, the British government banned the export of the manuscript before November of that year. According to British law, if funds equal to the price the Getty paid could be raised by that date, the 700-year-old manuscript could remain in England. By November, more than $1.1 million had been raised, so the deadline was extended three more months, to Feb. 12.
"We're there!" crowed an announcement released Monday by the National Art Collection Fund, confirming that the money had been secured.
In a statement, the Getty congratulated the Fitzwilliam on the acquisition, adding: "We naturally regret the loss of the Psalter, which would have been a wonderful addition to our collection and would have greatly enriched the museum experience of millions in Southern California and the United States."