Culture Minister Ed Vaizey has placed a temporary export bar on a highly significant work of art to provide a last chance to raise the money.
Ordination, by Nicolas Poussin, dates from 1636-42 and depicts Saint Peter’s ordination. It is one of a set of seven paintings of the sacraments brought to the UK in 1785 after they were acquired by the 4th Duke of Rutland and it has survived in excellent condition.
The minister’s decision 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 said the painting is closely connected with the country’s history and national life, that it is of outstanding aesthetic importance and that it is of great significance for studying both Poussin and the history of western art.
Lord Inglewood, Chairman of the committee, said: “This highly significant picture, possessed of a particularly harmonious and successful composition, demonstrates Poussin’s skill as a brilliant colourist. As part of one of the most remarkable series of paintings ever conceived it is of huge importance to the study of the history of western art.”
The decision on the export licence application for the painting will be deferred for a period ending on 9 August 2011 inclusive and could be extended if a serious bid is made to raise funds to buy the painting at its recommended price of £15 million. Offers from public bodies for less than the recommended price through the private treaty sale arrangements may also be considered.
More information about the painting and how to make a offer to purchase it can be found on the press release.