News story

Reynolds painting to remain in UK

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

Late eighteenth century work Omai has already spent years overseas

A stunning painting by Sir Joshua Reynolds will remain in the UK after a temporary export licence for the work was refused.

Omai has been identified as a national treasure and has only just returned to the UK after spending more than five years on display at the National Gallery of Ireland on a temporary export licence.

Acting on the advice of the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art (RCEWA), Culture Minister Ed Vaizey has stopped the painting being taken abroad again.

“The temporary export licence system is an excellent way to allow works of significant national importance to travel overseas where they may be enjoyed by audiences around the world before returning to the UK,” Mr Vaizey said.

“Joshua Reynolds’ Omai is an outstanding work of art which has already spent more than five years overseas and I do not want to see the regime being undermined by repeated use of temporary licences, so I have refused to grant a second licence on this occasion.”

The Government is currently consulting on proposed changes to temporary export licences for national treasures which would see them granted for only a maximum of three years with no extension.

Exporters and expert advisers involved with objects of cultural interest are being encouraged to take part in the consultation, which runs until 1 August.

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