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Britain Finally Wins Battle to Keep ‘Three Graces’

October 27, 1994

LONDON (AP) _ Britain won its battle to keep Canova’s statue, ″The Three Graces,″ on Thursday when a court threw out a final appeal by California’s J. Paul Getty Museum.

The Court of Appeals rejected the museum’s application to overturn a government decision giving two British museums an extra three months to match the Getty’s $12 million bid.

The Getty Museum had argued that the three-month delay was ″irrational and unreasonable.″

″This is the end of the line,″ John Russell, the Getty Museum’s London spokesman, said after the ruling. ″We are, naturally, very disappointed. Everybody knows the museum has been treated unfairly, but that was not a matter of concern for this court.″

The way is now open for London’s Victoria and Albert Museum and the National Gallery of Scotland to buy the marble sculpture. They announced Sept. 2 that they could match the Getty bid.

The statue depicts the three daughters of Jove - Aglaia (Grace), Athalia (Beauty) and Euphrosyne (Joy). It was commissioned in 1815 by the 6th Duke of Bedford from the Venetian artist Antonio Canova.

National Heritage Secretary Stephen Dorrell had given British museums until Nov. 5 to match the Getty price.

The late Getty’s son, John Paul Getty II, donated $1.56 million to keep ″The Three Graces″ in Britain.

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