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Victoria & Albert Museum

V&A sets sights on rare hunting horn

£3.3m required for export-delayed object

london. The Victoria and Albert Museum in London is trying to raise money to buy an 11th-century decorated ivory oliphant (hunting horn), priced at £3.3m, which has been export-deferred. This mysterious object may well have been made by Muslim craftsmen in Cairo and then possibly served as a Christian reliquary. The oliphant was once owned by Thomas, Lord Coventry, a courtier to King Charles I. He added silver mounts, probably to mark his daughter’s marriage in 1620. Although later leaving the family, the oliphant was returned in 1873, and was eventually loaned to the V&A, from 1974 to 2007. It was then withdrawn by Lady Rose Hare and sold privately through Sotheby’s. The unidentified buyer, or a subsequent owner, is now applying for an export licence to take it abroad. The Export Reviewing Committee has “starred” the oliphant, meaning that every effort should be made to keep it in the country. An export licence has been deferred until 4 August, with a possible extension to 4 December if a UK buyer is making a serious effort to raise the funds. M.B.