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Culture Minister defers export of Jan de Bray painting

Temporary export bar on David and the Return of the Ark of the Covenant

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey has placed a temporary export bar on the painting David and the Return of the Ark of the Covenant by 17th century Dutch artist Jan de Bray. This will provide a last chance to raise the money to keep the painting in the United Kingdom. 

“This painting shows the influence of not only Rembrandt but also the Italian School, and of Guercino in particular,” said Reviewing Committee member Johnny van Haeften.

Striking historical painting

De Bray was one of the leading practitioners of the classicist style in Haarlem during the 17th century. His personal approach is sometimes evidenced by the use of his family as models and he enhanced the realism of his paintings with subtle, lifelike details. 

The Minister’s ruling follows a recommendation by the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest, administered by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA), on the grounds that the painting is of outstanding significance for the study of 17th century Dutch art.

The decision on the export licence application for the painting will be deferred for a period ending on 4 January 2011 inclusive. This period may be extended until 4 April 2011 inclusive if a serious intention to raise funds with a view to making an offer to purchase the painting at the recommended price of £1,622,260.13 (including VAT) is expressed.

Offers from public bodies for less than the recommended price through the private treaty sale arrangements, where appropriate, may also be considered by Ed Vaizey

Further information

Published 20 May 2012