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Export block placed on rare example of family group portrait by influential Dutch painter Frans Hals

Ed Vaizey has placed a temporary export bar on an “innovative and animated” painting by Frans Hals, Family Portrait in a Landscape.

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

This will provide a last chance to raise the money to keep the work in the United Kingdom. 

The Culture 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). The Committee recommended that the export decision be deferred on the grounds that the painting is of outstanding significance for the study of Frans Hals andto the study of Dutch family portraiture of the 17th Century.

Family Portrait in a Landscape depicts a refreshingly animated and jovial family in a style that was previously unknown in Netherlandish group portraiture. Frans Hals was one of the most innovative and influential painters of the 17th Century. He has captured the likenesses of his subjects with fast and fluid brushwork. This style of painting would go on to produce a profound effect on the painters of the late 19th Century and beyond. It is also an unusual example of the way in which paintings can undergo a series of alterations and modifications after leaving the artist’s studio; one figure was added by another artist and the canvas was later reduced in size.

While there are many examples of Frans Hals paintings in public and private collections within the UK, examples of group portraits are very rare.

Johnny Van Haeften, Reviewing Committee member, said: “This is an early example of a conversation piece, a rarity when the convention at the time was for formal portraits. Although it is incomplete it is an interesting, innovative and animated work.”

The decision on the export licence application for the painting will be deferred for a period ending on 10 July 2011 inclusive. This period may be extended until 10 November 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 £7,750,000 is expressed.

Offers from public bodies for less than the recommended price through the private treaty sale arrangements, where appropriate, may also be considered. Such purchases frequently offer substantial financial benefit to both parties by the sharing of tax advantages.

Anyone interested in making an offer to purchase the painting should contact the owner’s agent through:
The Secretary
The Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest
Museums, Libraries and Archives Council
Grosvenor House
14 Bennetts Hill
B2 5RS

Telephone 0121 345 7427

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Notes to Editors

  1. For all media enquiries please contact Senior Media Relations Adviser,  Sunita Sharma, on 020 7273 8299, email:

  2. For enquiries on the operation of and casework arising from the work of the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest (RCEWA) please contact Peter Rowlands, RCEWA Secretary, on 0121 345 7427, email

  3. The Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest is an independent body, serviced by MLA, which advises the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport on whether a cultural object, intended for export, is of national importance under specified criteria. Where the Committee finds that an object meets one or more of the criteria, it will normally recommend that the decision on the export licence application should be deferred for a specified period. An offer may then be made from within the United Kingdom at or above the fair market price.

  4. The details of the painting are:

Frans Hals (c. 1582/3-1666) and Salomon de Bray (1597-1664)
Family Portrait in a Landscape (c.1621-22, 1628)
Oil on canvas
151 x 163.6 cm


[possibly] sale J. de Nooy, Haarlem (de Nooy), 30 April 1811, lot 7 (‘De Portraiten van negen Personen ten voeten uit, zijnde een Heer en Dame, met Kinderen van verschillende groote, allen in een bevallige Houding, en een der beste stukken’ [‘The Portraits of nine Persons, full length, a Man and a Woman, with Children of varying sizes, all in attractive poses, and one of the best pieces (of the artist)’]; 59 x 65 duim [c. 151.8 x 167.3 cm]).
Sale J. A. Bennet, Leiden (van der Hoek), 10 April 1829, lot 57 (fl. 45, bought in)
Collection Gustavus William Hamilton-Russell, 9th Viscount Boyne (1864-1942), Bridgnorth, Shropshire (by 1929).
On extended loan to the National Museums and Galleries of Wales (1971-2004).


London, Royal Academy, Exhibition of Dutch Art 1450-1900, 1929, no. 369
Brussels, Musee des Beaux-Arts, Rembrandt et son temps, 1971, no. 43a
Washington, National Gallery of Art; London, Royal Academy; and Haarlem, Frans Hals Museum, Frans Hals, 1989-90, no. 10, pp. 156-160 (exhibited London and Haarlem only).


C. Hofstede de Groot. A Catalogue Raisonne of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century. 8 vols Translated by Edward G. Hawke. (London, 1908-27), vol. 3 (1910), p. 131 no. 444
C. Hofstede de Groot, ‘Twee terruggevonden Schilderijen door Frans Hals’, Oud Holland 39 (1921), pp. 65-68
Seymour Slive, ‘A Proposed Reconstruction of a Family Portrait by Frans Hals’, in Miscellanea I. Q. van Regteren Altena (Amsterdam 1969), pp. 114-116
Gregory Martin, ‘The Inventive Genius of Frans Hals’, Apollo 94 (1971), p. 243
Seymour Slive, Frans Hals, 3 vols (London 1970-74), vol. 1 (1970), pp. 61-66; vol. 3 (1974), pp. 10-11, no. 15
Claus Grimm, Frans Hals: Das Gesamtwerk (Stuttgart and Zurich, 1989), pp. 61-62, 119-121, 272 no. 11

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Published 11 May 2011