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Export bar put on Duke of Rutland’s Nicolas Poussin painting worth £19 million

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A temporary export bar has been placed on a painting worth £19 million belonging to the Duke of Rutland.

Confirmation (c. 1637-40) by Nicolas Poussin has had the bar put on it by the government following the recent decision to sell the painting.

Poussin's 'Confirmation' belongs to the trustees of the 11th Duke of Rutland's 2000 Settlement and, after careful consideration, the Trustees have made the 'difficult' decision to sell the work.

'Confirmation' is currently barred from export (57313480)
'Confirmation' is currently barred from export (57313480)

The painting is part of Poussin’s series titled The Seven Sacraments which is widely regarded as the artist’s most important commission.

The painting has been in Britain for almost 240 years hanging, on several occasions, on the walls of some of the UK’s most prestigious museums, including Dulwich Picture Gallery and the Fitzwilliam Museum.

The export bar has been placed on the painting to allow time for a UK gallery or institution to acquire the painting and avoid it being sold to an overseas buyer.

Arts Minister Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay said: “The unprecedented Seven Sacraments series is an example of Nicolas Poussin’s extraordinary inventiveness and ‘Confirmation’ stands out as the most sophisticated work in the commission.

"The painting has had a profound impact on British art over the last 240 years and I sincerely hope a buyer comes forward to save it for the nation.”

The minister’s decision follows the advice of the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest, which made its recommendation on the grounds that the departure of the painting from the UK would be a misfortune owing to its outstanding significance to the study of Nicolas Poussin’s work and its influence on British art and culture.

Hannah Armstrong, of Omnia Art Ltd, who are representing the Duke of Rutland, said: “The sale of ‘Confirmation’ will enable the Trustees to continue to invest in the conservation of the Castle and surrounding estate. Following the sale of ‘Confirmation’, it is the Trustees’ intention that the remaining two paintings will remain on display in Dulwich Picture Gallery in London.”

The decision on the export licence application for the painting will be deferred for a period ending on January 9, 2023. At the end of the first deferral period the owners will have a consideration period of 15 business days to consider any offers to purchase the painting at the recommended price of £19 million. A second deferral period could start following the signing of an Option Agreement and would last for six months.

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