Due Diligence Policy


Turner Contemporary will not knowingly borrow or display a work of art for which there is reasonable cause to believe that the work of art may have been stolen, illegally exported or illegally imported from its country of origin. This policy sets out the principles and procedures to which Turner Contemporary adheres when considering loans for temporary exhibition.

Turner Contemporary recognises and is guided by the national and international principles as set out in the following standards:

  • Statement of Principles issued by the National Museum Directors Conference on “spoliation of works of art during the Holocaust and World War II period” in 1998;
  • Combating Illicit Trade: Due Diligence guidelines for museums, libraries and archives on collecting and borrowing cultural material, published by DCMS, October 2005;
  • The UNESCO 1970 Convention on the Means of prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Cultural Property – with particular attention given to objects originating from areas of conflict or known looting and to ensure that the excavation, importation or transfer of objects has not contravened this convention;
  • The ICOM Code of Ethics;
  • MA Code of Ethics;
  • SPECTRUM: UK Documentation Standard for museums;
  • Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora;
  • ICOM red list



Due diligence checks will be carried out by the Curator responsible for each exhibition. The Curator will carry out and complete a Due Diligence checklist for each loan.

Every reasonable effort will be made to investigate the provenance of a loan for exhibition. Full ownership history will be obtained wherever possible.

Provenance information between 1933 and 1945 will be given particular attention alongside any other information suggesting discrepancies in ownership.

Where necessary Turner Contemporary shall extend research beyond the information provided by the lender to clarify the history of the work of art. Where necessary, information will be verified against published sources, including sales catalogues, exhibition catalogues, articles in journals, import/export documentation.

Once provenance information has been compiled by the relevant Curator, the information will be reviewed by the Director. Turner Contemporary recognises that in practice some works of art may not be accompanied by detailed provenance. In these circumstances, having considered all the information obtained via the methods and standards above, best judgement shall apply.

For the avoidance of doubt, it is noted that Turner Contemporary would not proceed with a loan should there:

  • be any significant doubt over the legality of its ownership by the current holder
  • be any significant doubt over the legitimate acquisition of the object by the current holder
  • be any third party claims to the object
  • be any significant doubt over its removal from its country of origin, or its entry into the UK
  • be any significant doubt that the current owner does not have the right to lend, donate or sell the object
  • be any significant doubt that the loan complies with the 1970 UNESCO Convention and with other applicable national and international conventions and agreements relating to the prevention of illicit trade and the control of trade in endangered species.
  • be any doubt that the object has been legally excavated or legally exported since 1970

Where Immunity from Seizure protection is sought, information will be published on Turner Contemporary’s website in accordance with the regulations governing the legislation. Provenance information has been published, requesting immunity from seizure for objects in the following exhibitions:


Loan Agreement

Lenders/owners are required to declare on the Turner Contemporary Loan Agreement document that they:

  • Acquired the work of art by legitimate means.
  • Legally own the work of art.
  • Are unaware of any third-party claims to the work of art.
  • Have the right to lend the work of art.
  • Confirm their agreement that the loan is agreed in accordance with the 1970 UNESCO Convention and in accordance with other applicable national and international conventions and agreements relating to the prevention of illicit trade and the control of trade in endangered species.

Turner Contemporary confirms that the work of art will be returned to the same address as that from which lent, or a reasonable alternative by notification, at the termination of the loan.

If a lender provides their own Loan Agreement, this will be checked to ensure it conforms to the above standards.



All relevant correspondence, details of published information, signed loan agreements and other evidence of due diligence records shall be retained with the confidential exhibition files in accordance with SPECTRUM: UK Documentation Standard.


Approved by the Board of Trustees: 2017
Reviewed and reapproved: December 2023