CNN reports that government of the United Kingdom is forbidding a buyer who paid 146,500 pounds formerly known as sterling for a watercolor painting from taking it to his home (archived) outside of Britain. According to the Kingdom's government it hopes that the ban will encourage the buyer, who purchased the piece as the highest bidder at Christie's auction house would make the decision to sell the painting on to a buyer intending to keep the watercolor in the United Kingdom. This is in spite of the fact that no such buyer for the artwork was interested in outbidding the actual purchaser in an auction. The export ban was put into place by Culture Minister Ed Vaizey.
While overt blanket capital controls as have recently been implemented in Greece and Cyprus tend to get more mainstream attention, but less overt capitals tend to be prevalent in countries with their own currency and central bank. Among the more common of these stealth capital controls are anti money-laundering and know your customer schemes which through government pressure placed on banks can restrict the flow of capital both inside and outside of a country. When paired with restrictions on the amount of cash a person is permitted to carry or possess that are enforced at border checkpoints and searches in the name of a "war on drugs" the AML/KYC measures effectively work as crisis level capital controls. Similarly bans on importing certain classes of product as Argentina has can force currency to be spent internally on a product, even if is inferior to others available on international markets.
Because particular art objects are scarce, they can serve as a store of value. The buyer of the watercolor in question, because of the auction format, demonstrated that of all possible buyers he was the one willing to give the seller the most in exchange for it. Ed Vaizey and his Ministry of Culture did not at auction demonstrate a willingness to pay to keep the piece in Britain so he had to resort to abusing legal force to deny the actual buyer the right to use what he had purchased in the way he sees best. Vaizey instead wants to part the buyer and his purchase through a sale as has happened previously when 'cultural' export bans have been applied to artifacts in the United Kingdom.
This incident in the United Kingdom is just one more example of how Britain in 2015 has more in common with Stalin's Soviet Union than it has with the Kingdom of Elizabeth I, Victoria, or Churchill.