Art and cultural property

Members of Wilberforce Chambers’ Art & Cultural Property Group have a wide range of expertise in matters relating to cultural property, in both a contentious and non-contentious context, and spanning our traditional and commercial Chancery areas of practice.

We are proud to have barristers ranked in the ‘Art and cultural property’ sections in The Legal 500, Chambers & Partners and Chambers’ HNW Guide.

Wilberforce was awarded Chancery set of the Year at The Legal 500 2022 Awards.


Notable cases

QIPCO v Phoenix Ancient Art

A dispute concerning a member of the Qatari royal family, who claimed the two classical statues he purchased from a Geneva company for £3.75 million were fakes.

Guzzini Properties Ltd v Satfinance Investment Ltd

A dispute concerning the ownership of a painting known as “Untitled by Rudolf Stingel, 2012”. An art dealer named Inigo Philbrick (who has now pleaded guilty to multiple charges of fraud) used three artworks as security for a loan, although he did not have authority to do so.

Read the full judgment

Central Investments Limited and ors v Morgan Art Foundation SA and ors

A very substantial dispute concerning five joint ventures (and alleged partnerships) concerning the works of the artist Robert Indiana, famous for his LOVE sculptures.

Rijksmuseum Twenthe v Simon C Dickinson

A Commercial Court claim concerning payment for a Constable painting. Payment was made by the purchaser to a fraudster, rather than to the seller. The purchaser (the Museum) sought to hold the seller (an art agency) responsible.

Sir Frank Bowling v Hales Gallery Limited

A high-profile agency dispute in the Chancery Division. The Claimant, a famous artist, sought payments of sums allegedly due to him under the agency agreement from the gallery.

Re Claim for Beaching a Boat

Claim before the Spoliation Panel for the restitution of a Constable in the collection of the Tate Gallery.

Schoyen v UCL

A case concerning disputed antiquities.

Trustees of the Natural History Museum v Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre

A dispute about a collection of human remains in the custody of the Natural History Museum.

Re P L Travers WT

Taxation of film and stage royalties where the rights were held on discretionary trusts.

Sotheby’s, Italian Ministry of Culture and others v Mazzarelli

Interpleader concerning concerning disputed ownership of allegedly stolen medieval Italian religious and cultural manuscripts.

Re: a Shopping Centre

Rights to remove a Barbara Hepworth sculpture from a shopping centre.

Acting for National Gallery and Tate Gallery in various restitution claims.

Advising on claims made by the estate of a famous photographer for the return of photographs used in a documentary.

Advising on title dispute over a Benin bronze sculpture.

Accidia Foundation v Simon S. Dickinson.

Dispute over the commission paid to an art dealer.

Read the full judgment

Advising in private dispute concerning a Roman antiquity.

Advising HMRC on the tax implications of the acquisition by the National Gallery of Raphael’s Madonna of the Pinks.

Advising estate of well-known artist on tax treatment of sales of paintings after his death.

Appearing as an expert witness on English law on gifts of chattels in an arbitration over the donation of paintings by Lord Beaverbrook to the Beaverbrook Gallery in Fredericton, New Brunswick.

Advising a national museum on its relations with its related charitable “Friends” trust.

Advising a London Borough on the terms on which it holds a valuable art collection, and whether it could sell it off.

Advising wealthy individual on the terms of an educational charity he wishes to set up to own his country house and art collection after his death.

Advising British Film Institute on the terms of their constitution.

Representing Lucian Freud’s executors in dispute over the secret trust in his will.

Acting in a dispute about failure to comply with an artist’s contractual obligation to refabricate a damaged item in a series of artworks, involving issues of art market practice and valuation.

Acting in dispute regarding ownership rights in relation to significant 17th century (post-Ming, pre-Qing dynasty) Chinese porcelain collection.

Advising and acting for London art dealer on lien over a Rembrandt oil painting.

Advising the National Science Museum on the return of a forgotten exhibit, a large early 20th Century Steam Engine, loaned to another museum and dismantled and then lost.

Advising on treasure trove/restitution in the context of an expedition to recover treasure from a sunken Spanish galleon.

Advising in a case in which a Frank Auerbach had been left by a bottlebank in a block of flats and then handed in to the police by the finder who wished to claim it as his own.

Insights View all thought leadership

  1. Placeholder


    Wilberforce shortlisted for Set of the Year at the High Net Worth Awards 2024

    We are delighted to announce that Wilberforce Chambers has been shortlisted at the High Net Worth Awards 2024 for Set of the Year. Chambers and Partners’ criteria for this nomination reads as follows; “These award nominations and the ultimate winners are the... Read more

    Thursday 2 May 2024

    View more
  2. Placeholder


    Wilberforce shortlisted for Chambers of the Year at The Lawyer Awards 2024

    We are delighted to announce that Wilberforce Chambers has been shortlisted at this year’s The Lawyer Awards for Chambers of the Year! Winners will be announced on Tuesday 18th June at London’s JW Marriott Grosvenor House Hotel. We are incredibly... Read more

    Friday 12 April 2024

    View more
  3. Placeholder


    Four wins for Wilberforce at Chambers UK Bar Awards 2023

    We are absolutely delighted to have picked up four awards at last night’s Chambers UK Bar Awards! We are proud to announce that Wilberforce Chambers won the highly coveted ‘Set of the Year‘ award, as well as ‘Chancery Set of... Read more

    Friday 1 December 2023

    View more
  4. Placeholder


    60 Seconds with Bobby Friedman

    Bobby Friedman features in the latest edition of ThoughtLeaders4’s FIRE Magazine, revealing what motivates him, what he sees as the biggest legal trends of 2023, even his ideal holiday and the last book he read. Read the full article

    By Bobby Friedman
    Monday 6 March 2023

    View more

View all thought leadership

Related Barristers