Loans policy

Loaning artworks from the Ben Uri collection helps us to fulfil our mission to bring art to everyone.


Ben Uri welcomes requests to borrow works or items from its collections that will increase access to them. This policy is designed to safeguard works and/or objects while on loan.

In line with museum industry guidelines, we are happy in principle to loan from our collection to registered museums or venues which can provide equivalent museum-approved conditions.

Requests for loans

Requests should be made as early as possible in writing, with a minimum of six months’ notice for UK loans and nine months for international loans. In exceptional circumstances we will entertain shorter time periods.

This is to allow sufficient time for the request to be fully considered, any necessary conservation treatment and preparation to be carried out, security and environmental checks at the loan venue to be made, and other loan commitments to be taken into account.

Loan requests should be addressed to the Head of Collections. Requests will be acknowledged within one month of receipt.

All requests will be considered by the Collections Committee at regular meetings.

We aim to confirm decisions and to set out the implications of borrowing specific works in writing as soon as possible after each meeting. Most decisions will be communicated within six weeks of the meeting at which the request was considered, although multiple or complex loans may take longer to administer.


Borrowers within the UK do not normally pay an administration fee or contribute toward the cost of preparing works for loan. However, they must pay for the following:

  • Insurance: ‘nail to nail’
  • Conservation checks, where required
  • Frames, or frame repair, where required
  • Mounts or mount replacement (acid-free, conservation mounts stipulated), where required
  • Glazing, where required or any similar protective means stipulated (including rear covers etc)
  • Plinths / bases and covers for sculpture, where required
  • Packing cases/ crates/ packing materials
  • All transport costs by museum-approved art handlers
  • Photographs and colour transparencies supplied by Ben Uri
  • Where installation by Ben Uri is a condition of loan and Ben Uri staff are required to work beyond their normal working hours at the loan venue, borrowers will also be charged.
  • Courier costs including travel and associated costs

Borrowers from outside the UK

Borrowers must meet all of the above costs, and also pay for any additional materials required for preparing works for loan.

In the case of particularly complex loans, or where more than 10 works from the Ben Uri collection are required, Ben Uri may need to charge a special fee to borrower, whether this is inside or outside the UK.

Ben Uri will always aim to inform borrowers of any additional costs as early as possible.

Courier costs including travel and associated costs.


The loan will only proceed if the Adviser is able to approve the security and fire prevention arrangements at the loan venue. If the existing arrangements are not sufficient, recommendations to improve them will normally be made.

Twenty-four hour invigilation is normally required, although intruder-detector alarm systems for use during closed hours may be considered acceptable under certain circumstances.

Confidentiality about security arrangements will be maintained by both the Adviser and Ben Uri.

Insurance and government indemnity

All works lent by Ben Uri must be fully covered either by a government indemnity where applicable, or by commercial insurance.

In the case of commercial insurance, works must be insured ‘nail-to-nail’ and in the case of a touring exhibition, a single policy must cover all journeys and exhibition venues.

Proof of cover including copies of relevant insurance certificates or indemnities must be deposited with Ben Uri at least three weeks before the works are to be collected.

Works from the Ben Uri collection cannot be released without proof of adequate insurance cover or indemnity.

Commercial insurance: UK loans

Ben Uri will accept cover provided by commercial insurance companies in the form of a copy of their certificate, or a letter addressed directly to Ben Uri from their brokers, or, in the case of local authorities, letters of confirmation from the City Treasurer.

In both instances, cover must be ‘nail-to-nail’, and both Ben Uri and the insured works with their agreed valuations must be named.

Commercial insurance: international loans

Where an indemnity is not available, commercial cover will be taken out by Ben Uri, at the borrower’s expense, with a London-based broker nominated by Ben Uri.

The Trustees do not accept international commercial insurance cover.


Valuations for loaned works will be supplied by Ben Uri prior to loan.

Ben Uri reserves the right to increase the value of any work at any time, to take into account changes in the market value of works of art.

Cancellation of loan

Ben Uri recognises that a loan may be cancelled or works withdrawn for valid reasons, but reserves the right to charge the borrower for any and all costs which may have been incurred.

Cancellations must be made in writing to Ben Uri.

In the case of an emergency that puts loan objects at risk, Ben Uri reserves the right to terminate the agreement with immediate effect.

Reproduction and photography

Permission for the reproduction of images from the collection can be obtained. A fee is normally charged for this service and the credit line designated by Ben Uri must be used.

It is the responsibility of the borrower to clear copyright.

All queries relating to the supply of photographs and all reproduction rights should be made by email, please call +44 (0)207 604 3991 for further information.

Art on loan from Ben Uri may not be filmed, photographed, video recorded or televised without the prior permission of Ben Uri. Requests should be made to the Head of Collections: contact us, clarifying the circumstances and whether there is financial gain to be had by the borrowing institution as a result.

Where permission is granted, Ben Uri regulations must be adhered to and, if Ben Uri so decides, the operation supervised by a member of Ben Uri staff (at the borrower’s expense) or agreed appointee.


All works of art leaving Ben Uri for loan will be prepared by either Ben Uri staff or art handlers (as appropriate) prior to departure.

All works of art leaving Ben Uri’s storage facility will be prepared by art handlers and borrowers will be invoiced accordingly.

Packing: UK loans

For most domestic loans, paintings will be fitted with a transit frame or cornered and wrapped, but a packing case may be required for loans to touring exhibitions, or for works particularly vulnerable to changes in environmental conditions (for example panels).

Any journey requiring overnight travel, sea or air journeys will require a packing case.

All cases will be commissioned by Ben Uri and built to Ben Uri specifications, at the borrower’s expense and returned to the Ben Uri with the work at the cessation of the loan period.

For sculptures which require cases to be constructed for loan, the borrower will be charged for this expense.

Packing: international loans

A packing case will always be required for international loans, and Ben Uri will arrange for construction of a case to its own specifications, at the borrowing institution’s expense.

The initial packing and preparation of the work will be carried out by Ben Uri appointed staff.

Packing cases and materials must be stored by the borrowing institution in good conditions to prevent deterioration.

Collecting loans

At least four weeks’ notice must be given of the intended date for collection, to allow sufficient time for the preparation of the work of art and for the approval of the transport arrangements.

Transport arrangements

Transport arrangements, including appointment of agents, and all routing of journeys must be approved by Ben Uri before any work of art will be released for loan.

Transportation must be carried out by accredited agents. If new or unknown companies are proposed, they will be investigated before being endorsed.

Ben Uri reserves the right to veto any companies which do not comply with its conditions for the transportation of works of art and appoint an approved contractor at the borrowing institution’s expense.


Ben Uri is committed to the National Museum Directors’ Conference guidelines on couriering works.

For loans of works which present particular issues in terms of their condition, handling, transport, and importance, Ben Uri may wish to send a courier.

In addition, Ben Uri may wish to send a courier due to specific issues relating to the venue, particularly if it has not previously borrowed from Ben Uri.

The courier is the official representative of Ben Uri and has the authority to withdraw items from display where the stipulated requirements have not been met, whether for reasons of security or conservation.

All travel expenses, as defined by Ben Uri, and associated costs incurred by the courier are the responsibility of the borrowing institution.


Customs formalities are the responsibility of the borrower via their appointed agent; loaned works must not be unpacked for customs inspection en route.

In the event of a work being requested to be unpacked by Customs whilst in transit, the borrowing institution must be informed and arrange for professional supervision and handling.

Ben Uri must be informed immediately after arrangements are put in hand.

Returning loans

The borrowing institution should contact Ben Uri at least at least four weeks prior to the close of the loan exhibition to discuss the arrangements for the return of loaned works.

A cased work should be repacked in the custom-made packing case in which it travelled, using the original packing materials and methods unless previously agreed by Ben Uri.

Condition reports must be returned with the work.

Works which travelled uncased should be repacked by a method similar to that used for the original journey.

The return shipment will be by the same method and carrier as the outward journey, unless Ben Uri specifies otherwise. Any changes must be agreed between Ben Uri and the borrowing institution.

Reporting damage or loss of loaned work

In the event of a work of art being lost or damaged or suspected of having been damaged, the borrower must inform Ben Uri immediately after the incident has occurred or as soon as the loss is noticed by emailing the Head of Collections.


We require you to acknowledge Ben Uri for the loan, citing the collection and provenance (where appropriate), in any publication or media coverage arising from the loan (e.g. exhibition label captions, photo and other acknowledgments, catalogues, research papers, TV coverage). You must confirm with the Head of Collections or the Operations Manager the exact wording of the acknowledgment.

Extension of loan

Borrowers wishing to extend the period of loan must apply to do so in writing to the Head of Collections, copied to the Operations Manager,well in advance of the loan and date. You should give reasons for requesting the extension. We may require that the loan/s be checked and condition reported and if this requires the visit of Ben Uri staff, you will be asked to bear the cost of this visit.

For further information contact Collections.