Export bar placed on Gainsborough work by minister
PUBLISHED: 14:19 23 December 2019 | UPDATED: 14:19 23 December 2019
An oil painting by renowned Suffolk landscape artist Thomas Gainsborough could leave Britain unless a UK buyer comes forward for the £8 million work.
Arts minister Helen Whately has placed a temporary export bar on Gainsborough's Going To Market, Early Morning in the hope a UK gallery or museum can acquire it for the nation.
The picture was painted in 1773 and depicts a group travelling on horseback through the countryside passing by a destitute mother with a baby.
The recommended price is £7,961,000 plus £234,200 VAT, but offers from public bodies for less "may also be considered", the department added.
Ms Whately said: "Gainsborough is one of the greatest British landscape artists and his work still wows audiences more than 250 years later.
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"This piece is a superb example and I hope a UK buyer can be found so we can find a new home for this work in our national collection."
The decision on the export licence application for the painting will be deferred until March 22 2020.
This could be extended until September 22 if a serious intention to raise funds to purchase it is made, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport added.
Thomas Gainsborough was born in Sudbury in 1727 and was a founder member of the Royal Academy. He later became a favourite painter of King George III.
The house where he was born in Sudbury is now the Gainsborough's House gallery and museum, where work is currently underway on a £9 million development project.
Once complete it will be the largest gallery in Suffolk, providing spaces for exhibitions, displays and learning with four new galleries.
As a result of the work a total of 63 pieces from Gainsborough's House have gone on display at the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow.